Brute Force Takeover of VegNews Magazine

December Issue Erases Co-Founder Colleen Holland as Editor Joe Connelly Attempts to Rewrite History

In March, I wrote about the sad legal dispute over VegNews magazine. Joe Connelly had filed a ridiculous lawsuit against Colleen Holland claiming to be sole owner of VegNews, despite plenty of evidence (and what anyone who was paying attention knew) that the two had co-created and together ran the award-winning publication as partners since its inception 13 years ago.

There has never been any question that Joe and Colleen started VegNews together, growing it from a seed of an idea to a national magazine. Indeed, Joe acknowledged as much in interviews. Even his own bio on the VegNews website explains how he “together with Colleen, launched the magazine in 2000.”

I wish I could say the former couple reached a peaceful and amicable solution to this mess. Instead, despite Colleen’s numerous attempts to settle the matter by offering to split the business 50/50, Joe has only further escalated his spiteful attacks, placing the magazine’s entire future at serious risk.

Below are just a few of the absurd events from the last few months; keep in mind, this is all during a pending lawsuit in which the legal ownership of VegNews remains unresolved. Moreover, a judge has ruled preliminarily that “Ms. Holland demonstrates that she is a co-owner of the business and Mr. Connelly has been misusing his position to her detriment.” Nevertheless, since this decision, Joe has engaged in numerous unethical business practices, including:

  • Taking over all of the magazine’s finances and refusing to pay Colleen;
  • Locking Colleen out of all VegNews records, including her own email, making it impossible for her to conduct business;
  • Firing two employees who disagreed with Joe’s claim that he had sole decision-making authority; the three remaining employees quit in disgust;
  • Becoming so violent with rage one day in the VegNews office that police who responded gave Colleen a restraining order against Joe;
  • Filing for bankruptcy, claiming he is the sole owner of VegNews;*
  • Filing a temporary restraining order against Colleen for daring to show up to the VegNews office, where her name (and only hers) is on the lease.**

And in a particularly galling move, Joe has just put out the December issue of VegNews on his own, without any mention of Colleen. In other words, Joe is acting like there is no lawsuit, no dispute over ownership, and that he’s now in charge, simply by locking Colleen out and pretending she doesn’t exist.

Just one problem: the court system doesn’t work that way, we don’t live in anarchy. Now, in what looks like an end-run around the original litigation, Joe is attempting to resolve the matter by filing personal bankruptcy. (The business is not formally incorporated.) Meanwhile, Joe thinks he can just go on publishing the magazine as if everything is fine. Evade your creditors and screw your partner: what a great model for the vegan movement.

Please support Colleen by letting Joe know that his behavior is unethical and unacceptable and by sharing this post. This week there will be several public court hearings on the matter in San Francisco, all at the United States Bankruptcy Court located at 235 Pine Street. The first is Tuesday, December 3 at 10am. Two others are planned for Wednesday, December 4 and Friday, December 6. Please check back for more details on those and updates.

** 12/4 update: Today the judge correctly denied Joe’s temporary restraining order against Colleen.

Here is the audio from the first bankruptcy court hearing.

111 Responses to “Brute Force Takeover of VegNews Magazine”

  1. ilse says:

    Publishing a story and rallying people based on 1 side of the story is not very ethical either.

    If he did something wrong, the courts will deal with it, like you posted, we don’t live in an anarchy.

    • Former VegNews Employee says:

      As a former employee of VegNews, I can tell you that it’s a relief to see SOMEONE speak out publicly against Joe Connelly and what he is doing to Colleen and to that magazine. His sociopathic behavior is absolutely responsible for 6+ staff members quitting in the past 8 months, as well as several contributors being fired for daring to question his authority. He absolutely deserves for this story to be aired, and it’s 100percent true.

      • Another former VegNews employee says:

        Agreed. It’s out of respect for Colleen and everything she poured into her labor of love, VegNews, that more of us former employees don’t speak up about what an awful man Joe is. He is an egotistical maniac, a narcissist, and the most childish grown man I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting.

        It’s really sad, because most of us came to VegNews with optimism about working for a publication that seeks to make veganism accessible in a fun, friendly, and compassionate manner. Many of the women (always women) who worked at VegNews found their first real editorial jobs at the magazine and really wanted what Colleen wanted: to produce something excellent and in line with their ethics and gain some credibility in the journalism industry. But you simply cannot work for this man. He aims to destroy even the most eager, sweet, talented, and (especially) strong employees, and I personally witnessed him give advice that was against the law, act like an abusive imbecile in staff meetings discussing innate and irrelevant details, and embarrass himself on more than one occasion with his proven inability to be a good and reasonable person. I only hope that people don’t see him as a typical vegan. He gives veganism an awful, awful name.

        • Chad L says:

          Why not take the staff and connections and start a new magazine ASAP? If he’s really that bad of a dude, Vegnews will fold and there’ll be room for another publication.

          • Jon Quimbly says:

            Great idea. Make it web-based and you’ll minimize startup costs.

          • Rachel says:

            They may have non-competes or other agreements in place, or simply not be able to afford the start up costs which would include paying a staff. Not many of us can afford to work for free, even for a good cause. That said, I hope that another vegan magazine comes up. I would love another Satya, that magazine was amazing. I still love their back issues.

    • Jack K. says:

      Excuse me, but why should Ms. Holland spend years in the court system and hundreds of thousands of dollars defending herself just to show something everyone already knows? Joe has clearly described their business relationship in recorded audio in his own voice:

    • Jon Quimbly says:

      If there is a problem, subscribers deserve to know about it. Don’t we?

      As conscious consumers, we vote with our wallets and our feet. Same applies to the information we consume, especially when there’s a subscription price attached to it.

      They’d both be doing us a favor by coming clean and telling us what happened. There are many other sources of veg nutrition info out there. If VegNews is imploding, we can just walk away.

    • Eric says:


      Actually I don’t see either “side” being put out there, more of a factual series of events. Re-reading I do not see Mrs. Holland’s side being told but I do of course see some support for her “side.” If what he did was legal, the courts will decide but they do not judge on moral or ethical grounds. To ignore the proper steps, We, especially we business owners, need this information so we can decide if we care to do business with a person who is unethical, when the magazine was founded on an ethical stance.

    • GC says:

      How does a partner “take over the finances”. Don’t both names on an account have to agree to changes – Don’t both names have to be on a check? What did the bank say about this takeover – how could they allow it? I wish the article answered these questions in order to protect others in business.

  2. bdavis says:

    He is being a wounded little bitch. Instead of acting fairly and resolving the issue 50/50, he is doing his grandstanding and being a bully. He is a bully. And if you support him, you are a bully too.

    • Rachel says:

      Can we not use sexist insults, please? Its horrible how Joe is treating Colleen, and I hope she gets a fair resolution.

  3. Lyndsay O. says:

    Agreed with bdavis. I worked for the man, and this story is not one-sided at all. And he started the lawsuit! He didn’t like the outcome, and now he’s acting like a child.


    sounds like he’s a prick.
    but it just goes to show that because we don’t eat pigs or honey or cheese that doesn’t mean we’re not flawed human beings with strengths and weaknesses, like everyone else.

  5. Samantha Munoz says:

    Joe Connelly doesn’t realize that in his bitterness to make Colleen’s life miserable, he’s hurting the vegan movement and all of the loyal VegNews readers. Vegnews is amazing and has always been such a useful way to get veganism out there. I know that when I first attempted to go vegan, vegnews is what really helped me to stick to my guns. I have to be honest in saying that I will no longer support the magazine if Colleen is out of the picture. I know that she’ll be successful if she needs to start over, but I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. We are routing for you, Colleen!

  6. Annie says:

    I’m confused, if Colleen has been pushed out by Joe etc.. why is she still listed on the site as co-creator? Regardless this is awful and I hope that if what was outlined above is true that justice will be served!

  7. Grateful says:

    I interviewed with Joe and Colleen a couple years ago for a position at VegNews. I was crushed to have been passed over but probably that was a blessing. Eek. I wouldn’t have guessed about their acrimonious relationship from my interactions with them.

    • pirh says:

      I briefly worked there and lemme tell you, it was a blessing. It was my DREAM to work for a vegan mag and then they literally just refused to communicate with me for months until I figured out I didn’t work there anymore. That place is TOXIC, but I think most of it is from Joe.

  8. Megan says:

    I have personally met Colleen Holland and feel awful that she is being treated this way since she is such a kind and friendly person! It’s not FAIR!

  9. adult says:

    Joe grow up! Get some help buddy. Real men do not treat women like you do!

  10. Grace says:

    Well, I will be sending my Dec issue back, with few choice words for Joe

  11. John Mooter says:

    I recall the disrespectful article in this publication about Loving Hut vegan Cafes and Master Ching Hai. That is when I stopped getting it. Furthermore, most of what I have seen in it is chic pop stuff, not serious vegan literature promoting whole plant foods and vibrant health. Just my opinion.

  12. Kate says:

    Joe is not being honest with advertisers or subscribers. He proceeds to act like nothing is going on as he bullies his way through all his former female staff, I know firsthand as a prior staff member. A whopping 91% of VN readers are female and Joe feels superior to women and that he can act anyway he chooses to. If you are a feminist, you need to boycott VegNews. Joe needs to be upfront and honest with all. His behavior is disgusting. This issue should have been out a month ago at the absolute latest! Ripoff to all the subscribers and advertisers Shame on you Joe! You will be held accountable for your deplorable actions and destroying VegNews!

    • jess says:

      Agreed. A friend of mine in college was a super-vegan animal rights activist and now works for one of the nation’s biggest animal rights organizations. He was like a vegan journalist rockstar, yet he could not get a job or an internship there. They REFUSED to hire men! Talk about discrimination. Why did Joe feel the need to surround himself with only gorgeous women? He is a CREEP.

      • Heather says:

        That’s not really a valid argument, unfortunately. No matter someone’s credentials, they just might not be the right fit for the job. Unless your friend was actually told “We aren’t hiring you because you are a man”, the evidence here is just circumstantial. I’m not saying he’s not a complete creep, and that they aren’t discriminatory…they may well be. But just not hiring someone with great credentials (though you said internship, so I suspect this was the beginning of his career, so his resume may not have been that impressive) doesn’t necessarily indicate bias.

  13. Dar says:

    It sounds like Joe needs to get into therapy for anger management a.s.a.p. I’m not saying this will happen but how many news reports, particularly news magazine shows have we seen where behavior like this escalates to murder. Joe sounds like he’s a ticking time bomb. I’m sorry Colleen has to go through this and hope she’s able to keep away from him.

  14. Marijke says:

    This was hard to read. I’m always shocked by mean spirited actions like these and it makes me especially sad, that they come from a vegan.
    But I have to admit, it makes me happy to see all you people speaking up in favor of Colleen and you are not blinded by anything Joe says.
    I remember when some people tried to publish the truth about a German vegan business owner (who I worked for as well) and nobody wanted to listen. Instead the people writing the article and everyone who spoke out against him publicly we’re said to be liars and simply frustrated.
    So I’m glad this doesn’t seem to be the case here.
    I wish Colleen and everyone involved good luck for their future and hopefully a Joe-free VegNews.

  15. Brenda says:

    Joe I think you must have some type of mental illness to act this way. Please seek help

  16. Paul says:

    This is a pretty nasty hatchet job on a man who has dedicated most of his adult life working for veganism and animal rights. Joe started what eventually became VegNews long before he even met Colleen, and while she made a significant contribution to the magazine in recent years as an administrator and advertising salesperson there was never any doubt that Joe has always been the founder and the brains, heart and soul behind VegNews.

    • Former Intern says:

      Nice try, Joe. Uh, I mean “Paul.” What kind of “activist” sues his ex-girlfriend for 4.5 million dollars?

    • Kelley says:

      I agree with Paul. I know Joe and he has treated me with nothing but kindness and respect. I will continue to support Joseph and VegNews. This article is clearly one sided and biased. No one on here knows Joe’s side of the story yet you are all so quick to attack him and boycot VegNews. You are blindly taking this all as fact. It’s an unfortunate and sad situation.

      • michele says:

        Actually we do know Joe’s side, as it’s filed in his court papers, as is Colleen’s response. Anyone can read them and figure out the truth. Have you?

      • Kate says:

        Joe is a mean-spirited angry man who gives the movement a bad name. He is a good actor when he needs to be. As I said after working there for many years, I personally have watched the magazine grow at the hands of Colleen. Joe takes all the glory while Colleen did all the work behind the scenes making Joe look good. I know what I witnessed and it was appalling to say the least.

        Joe had a lame newsprint SAVES that went out quarterly to a handful of vegetarian societies before Colleen and Joe started VegNews together in Colleen’s Mothers basement for the first two years. The VegNews lease is in Colleen’s name as well as the domain name. Nice try Joe to fool folks. You are NOW EXPOSED and have to stand up to the truth. It is your pride and ego that makes you such a monster!

    • Former VegNews Employee says:

      “Paul,” you either have no idea what you’re talking about or are clearly a mole planted by Joe. ANY and EVERY employee who has actually worked at VegNews can see that Colleen is completely hands-on with all of the editorial. Joe is clueless and his attempts to exert authority are pathetic since half the time he literally can’t even remember what’s in each issue or on the website. In design meetings, even mere days before we were going to press, he would constantly be asking what articles we were looking at because he was never paying any attention to what was actually going on in the magazine.

      Also, there is a reasonable amount of evidence that Joe isn’t even vegan. Several people at conferences have seen him hitting the very non-vegan buffet table and sneaking stuff into a corner to stuff in his face so that he can maintain a facade of being “ethical”. He has zero values and is the epitome of a hypocrite.

      • unethical_vegan says:

        “Also, there is a reasonable amount of evidence that Joe isn’t even vegan. Several people at conferences have seen him hitting the very non-vegan buffet table and sneaking stuff into a corner to stuff in his face so that he can maintain a facade of being “ethical”.”

        repeating 3rd party slander is not a “value” i’d brag about. if there are people who saw joe eat non-vegan food then *they* should make this public. it would certainly explain the picture scandal…

    • Lyndsay O. says:

      From letting a VegNews volunteer be sexually harassed by a “friend” of VegNews with no consequence, to not paying his employees on time, Joe is by no means a stand up guy, or activist for the vegan movement. I worked for VegNews for nearly four years, and I came in with so much enthusiasm and love for the magazine. I left broken and dispirited due to the man you claim to be the heart and soul behind VegNews. And now he’s burning it to the ground because he’s bitter that things didn’t go his way. I really do hope Colleen finds the strength to pick herself up from this, and start something fresh and new for the vegan movement. I know she has the ability!

    • Francis says:


      Nice try at re-writing history. I’ve been in the vegan movement for 23 years. I’ve been a big supporter of VegNews since its inception. I know both Joe and Colleen and have hosted them for dinner on many occasions.

      I still remember the time I met both of them at 34th World Vegetarian Congress in Toronto, Ontario where they proud to launch their new magazine – VegNews. It was printed on newsprint in B/W. There is no doubt that this was a project that was founded by both Joe and Colleen.

      I am deeply saddened and disappointed that Joe has behaved in this manner and treated Colleen and their employees with such disrepect and disdain.

      Clearly, VegNews is not sustainable under this management style and it’s a matter of time before it implodes. I hope that the veg community will rally behind Colleen in whatever venture that she decides to pursue. I stand with Colleen and wish her the very best moving forward.

  17. Randi says:

    What a horrible little man.

  18. Rich says:

    Talk about one sided and giving Veganism a bad name. Reading all these comments sounds to me like your all doing a fine job of that. Very hateful and hurtful words by all of you peace loving vegans. I know Joe and he is a good man. And he never talks about Colleen the way you all are talking about him. Save it for the courts and quit your bad mouthing.

  19. That_Guy says:

    No matter how much I try to wrap my head around this, none of it makes any sense. Having known both Joe and Colleen for at least a decade, it’s mind-boggling how this all has turned out.

    Yes, it sounds like Joe is being a bitter, vengeful jerk. But, here’s my question that never seems to get answered –

    If he and Colleen haven’t really been “together” as a couple beyond their work in the magazine since around 1998, why in the bloody hell did they not draft out plans for how things would split when the sh*t hit the fan? Neither of them are that stupid to have actually believed that you can have a perfect working business relationship in perpetuity when the original foundation is gone. What the hell were EITHER of them thinking by not having things laid out in stone when it was realized they were only business partners and nothing more? Did neither of them think the other might eventually move on in some ways and make expectations/demands that weren’t necessarily reasonable to the other? Seriously, that’s the core of the problem here – two people who I believe are good people but are only human, who both got too lazy to make proper “estate” planning for their business if things ever turned a not-so-good direction. Had they simply put all this into place when their personal relationship was coming undone, NONE of this mess would likely be happening right now. It’s what responsible adults who own businesses do, and how these two, brilliant as they are, failed to do the most elementary of planning for their future baffles me to no end.

    In my eyes, both parties are at fault here. But, there’s a much more vocal anti-Joe sentiment going around (considering his personality vs. that of Colleen, it’s easy to understand why), but I refuse to let myself get played by either party or put in the middle between two people I like just because the vegan community thinks it’s black-and-white and that we need to choose sides ASAP. Screw that, this is a matter for the courts, and if things are as clear as they’re made out to be, things will all wrap up in the end.

    Face it, Joe’s career in anything related to veganism is dead and buried – articles such as this have assured us of this. Good thing we vegans excel at being judge, jury and executioner so that we can decide who is right and who is wrong long before any actual legal outcome is reached!

    • Charles Babbage says:

      They met in 1999, so I think you mean they haven’t been together since around 2008, but every time I met since then, they presented themselves as a couple and full partners in VegNews.

      Contingency planning is critical in any venture, but this should never have gone to court.

    • GC says:

      I will go even further than That_Guy – even if people are lovers, married or brother and sister, if they go into business together they should have protections in place for when the relationship dissolves – and it will sooner or later. Best to agree on division when the relations are good. That one partner was able to take control of the finances is almost criminal stupidity on the other’s part.

      • Veg Friend says:

        That_Guy and others are naive to think there is such a thing as a water-tight agreement or contract. If you’ve had any exposure to American legal system, you’d know that if someone accuses you of something, anything, you’d better have the resources to defend yourself. You can collect damages only after you’ve shown the other party was wrong, sometimes years later. Betrayal is the worst crime and you are wrong to blame the victim.

        For those of us who have known Colleen and Joe throughout their history, this is clearly a frivolous lawsuit, as we all watched them present themselves as co-owners and co-founders, until Connelly started to enjoy the spotlight too much, a few years back. Connelly’s strategy is so transparent–he has attempted to create a situation so expensive for Holland that she would have no other choice but to fold. Holland is a strong woman, though, and is defending herself and will eventually win. There are too many witnesses.

        Holland went as far as to get a court ruling that she was an equal owner of the company. Connelly has ignored this ruling and continues to act like he did this all on his own. Connelly can’t stand the fact that Holland made that magazine what it is and this is just his jealous rage. A real man shares the credit with his partners.

        Marriage is a black and white contract but it is common for divorces to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. No one signs up for infidelity when they get into a committed relationship, but it’s quite common. There are no guarantees in law or life. Once you’ve been betrayed, you’ll know this. And you’re a fool to think if someone turned on you, they couldn’t do things as simple as transfer money out of your joint bank account.

        The point of this article is that this is a “brute force” takeover. If you look at the public court papers, Connelly has been shown lying over and over again. Rumor has it that Connelly will lie, cheat, steal, and break the law to get his way. Even in the audio recording attached to this article, the bankruptcy lawyer gets him to admit to filing a fraudulent lease with the city of San Francisco!

        Connelly does a good job at presenting himself as a charming, gentle man. Many of us were fooled by him for years. He is the worst of con-men and does not belong in our vegan community. These unethical business practices don’t even belong on Wall Street!

        I am just as guilty, but there is too much focus on Connelly and his negativity. He needs to be forgotten. Holland is the real hero and she needs to be praised for all she has done in popularizing veganism since the mid-90s. She could certainly be a marketing executive at some big company, but she has chosen our little world (which is always getting bigger). Please support her in her future endeavors, whether she takes over VegNews, when Joe is forced to step down, or when she starts a new company.

  20. Charles Babbage says:

    I am astonished by how much this crowd is relying on “legal” outcomes when the “legal” side has been anti-Vegan for forever. “Legal” can be bought. There is no question about that. If you want justice, bring it yourself. Regardless of the magazine’s history, Joe has acted unconscionably toward his employees and advertisers and can’t be trusted. The courts will just be sifting through ashes.

    • That_Guy says:

      If we can’t have some trust in legality to offer resolution, please sir, tell me what we trust in. Innuendo? One-sided stories from the person we like better? Anonymous comments on a message board? Are any of those going to be the most accurate way to find resolution when there’s a dispute of this sort? When not all facts are known by everyone, what do we have of proof of anything other than following our natural bias in deciding who we THINK is right/wrong without ever really knowing for sure?

      There aren’t always conspiracies to see everywhere, and a man who is filing for bankruptcy isn’t likely to be holding the funds capable of greasing all the right palms.

      But I do agree, there may be nothing more than ashes left when all is done, and truthfully, I fear there may not be a Veg News Magazine by the time 2015 rolls around.

      • Charles Babbage says:

        As long as there are the AETA and ag-gag laws I can’t trust our legal system for justice. You have to start from a foundation of fairness and Ahimsa which we’ve never had.

        Joe used to seem personable and can when the situation calls for it, but so did Dr. Jekyll. Mr Hyde has been rampaging for many months. I believe Joe left a trail of debts back East which is probably one reason most things are in Colleen’s name and has probably been using VegNews funds to pay for his legal team. Funds owed to employees and creditors. All this could have easily been avoided. Just my opinion. Today may see some resolution, but the damage is done.

  21. VeganGirl says:

    I have known Joe for a few years now and every time I see him, he is nothing but kind. He is also fiercly dedicated to animal rights and veganism, so I don’t believe the non-vegan BS.

  22. Know Them Both says:

    This page acknowledges that Colleen co-created VegNews.

  23. Mutual Friend says:

    Dear Joe,

    It is time to settle up with Colleen fairly and generously.

    Continue to try to take all the credit and glory for yourself, and you will be despised and eventually forgotten in the veg community. Share the credit and you will still have a place with us and you will be remembered for your contributions.

    Be a man and redeem yourself by ending this. The community will respect that.

    A Friend

    • That_Guy says:

      No, the community won’t respect Joe after this.

      Let’s not kid ourselves – between how he has been painted (for right or wrong) and how Colleen has been absolved of being negligent in also being responsible for not planning for the worst, it’s 100% certain that Joe will have no open arms in the vegan community waiting for him.

      Please, let’s not pretend that if he just “drops everything” that everyone will simply pretend that none of this has happened. He has been sufficiently painted as the oppressor and Colleen as the victim even though a simply sit-down with an attorney a half decade ago could have prevented this whole ugly mess. His name is mud in the vegan world when all is said and done, even if he begged for mercy and flagellated himself into oblivion, he’s still going to be the bad guy no matter what.

      This whole thing is like two uninsured drivers involved in a head-on collision battling it out in court over who was owes who, when simply having insurance prior to the accident would have solved this whole thing ages ago.

  24. Susan Hargreaves says:

    I remember when joe started Veg News he built that mag from his early inception. He used to send newspaper bundles to activists around the US to give away for free around their community.

    Be careful that people do not get embroiled in split up politics. Joe Connolly is one of the few leaders who are first and foremost wanting to help animals and not just wanting to promote their own group. Joe collaborates, supports and is a positive force. This article is one sided and smells of office politics and break up flak.

    It’s not right to malign joe Connolly like this , a person who helps others to hey the word out about helping all species of animals. Joe and colleen need to work out their split without public interference and attempted shaming.

    Thank you

    • michele says:

      “Joe and colleen need to work out their split without public interference”

      That is exactly what Colleen attempted to do for a long time but Joe refused. He is the one who filed the lawsuit, which is public, and not exactly demonstrating leadership or caring about the animal species known as humans.

    • L says:

      Susan, I’m sorry, but to quote Janis Ian, “There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil things and those who see evil things and don’t try to stop it.”

      In addition to the damage it has caused directly to Colleen and the magazine, the dispute between Joe and Colleen has led to at least six people losing their jobs each year. If they had kept it a personal issue between the two of them, it would BE a personal issue between the two of them. But because of Joe’s hostility and resentment, it has permeated the lives of everyone who works/worked for the magazines and even the experience of readers.

      On their website, Monsanto calls themselves “ethically responsible”. Does that actually make them ethically responsible?
      In the same sense, because Joe Connelly preaches about compassion towards animals, does that actually make him compassionate? Of course not. People can say whatever they want, and it doesn’t cancel out their own reprehensible actions. Joe deserves for the world to know what he has done.

  25. L says:

    *six people losing their jobs this year, not each year. Apologies for the typo.

  26. Long Time Veg News Reader says:

    I have meet Joe several times and he is a gentle man who has helped the vegan movement a great deal. I have read the new issue of Veg News and I am very impressed that Joe did it on his own I see no difference than all the previous issues. Good job Joe keep it up!!!

    • michele says:

      Dear Anonymous: how do explain how this gentle man is treating his former partner? As for the current issue, who do you suppose created the lovely template that Joe was able to just copy?

  27. L says:

    I was eager to meet Joe in 2006 when he was representing VegNews at a PCRM event. I waited nearby for him to finish up a conversation with a few other people only to hear him rudely bad-mouthing my veg organization and several others present that he apparently didn’t hold up to his standards. In those few minutes, I learned all that I needed to know about his character. When I finally mentioned it to my colleagues months later, they were in disbelief. I’m glad his true colors are coming to light. That guy is an asshole and I feel bad for everyone who has had to work with him.

  28. Long Time Vegan says:

    I met Colleen in 1996 at Vegfest. She also met Joe C. for the first time there. Eventually they started newspaper print newsletter for animal rights mainly and of course the Vegan Lifestyle. This newsprint newsletter of various events and with related articles became VegNews.

    I have seen them both over a period of years. Colleen handled the marketing and was instrumental in “growing the business” to what it has become today – or a few months ago when she was still involved.

    In talking with her a few years ago, she told me how people with similar principles and values were interested and felt fortunate to work for VegNews, a magazine that promoted Vegan Lifestyle and Animal Rights.

    It is good her name is on the lease. I remember when they were first looking for a place to rent for the growing VegNews magazine.

    I hope things can be resolved amicably, but it does not appear that will happen.

    Hindsight is easier than foresight. Does everyone here have their Will and Trust up to date? It is easy to “let things go” when all is well. I understand how they didn’t get around to writing up business or partnership agreement.

    I have a subscription now to VegNews. Otherwise, I would be reluctant to buy it without the support of Colleen.

    • Cheryl Hugle says:

      VegNews was NOT vegan when it began.

      In fact, Colleen told me they wanted to be an umbrella organization that represented both vegans and vegetarians, thus the name VegNews.

      Their very first edition was being handed out at a lecture at Stanford I attended in 2001 and the article on the front page (of the newspaper… not yet a magazine) was written by Will Tuttle.

      I spoke to Connelly who mentioned he had worked with vegetarian groups for years before and what he noticed most was how much they attacked each other! He did not seem all that convinced that this new venture was going to be successful either. Colleen was much more upbeat and positively committed. Like her, I wanted so much to see their new venture succeed.

      A couple of years later, I did some advertising with them and tried to enlist their support in a campaign that was more inclusive. I often emailed them with ideas to expand their circulation and even raised money for them.

      But, one of the articles that appeared later on their cover was an edited version of one my conversations with a nonprofit (which I had cc’d them on). The byline was given to Colleen Patrick Goudreau.

      But that wasn’t the worst of it.

      My opinion is not as everyone else here. I think the movement is much better off with both of these people gone. I think they were very active in sabotaging those they disliked (let’s say an ex of one of their contributors) and spreading slander.

      Possibly Joe had a publication prior to VegNews, I sort of remember him saying so… but, I think it is safe to say that the VegNews project was a joint effort… still, I think there are many more respectable, less petty, less self-serving, more ethical people out there who could do a much better job pulling together a publication(s)

      And, who are vegans themselves!

  29. Team Colleen says:

    It’s not office politics. It’s THE TRUTH. Joe treated everyone horribly at VegNews. When I worked there, two instrumental editors quit in disgust. Later all of the editors quit, even Elizabeth, who amazingly dealt with Joe’s shit long after she recognized it as such, because she believed in the magazine and Colleen. When people quit, Joe calls them “bad eggs” like the narcissistic person he is. It’s sad that it has come to this, but I do hope Colleen moves on and everyone forgets about Joe and his lonely life of judging and manipulating people. A new magazine would be AMAZING, but unfortunately the start-up costs are massive and most writers and editors are not in a place to risk it. Should you have some capital, however, I will happily work for you! :) Chin up Colleen, the worst is behind you now that you are no longer with Joe!

  30. Steven B says:

    At least I know why the November/December 2013 issue is sooo late. In the end now one ever wins. Hope Vegnews is not sold to settle court costs.

  31. Jane says:

    Is this Joe guy mentally ill? Does he have bipolar, or some other mental illness? Has he been on medication, that he has not been taking? His behavior is described as seriously deranged, and frightening, not just as though he is being a “jerk.” I agree with others who suggest starting a new online zine.

  32. Pat Ritz says:

    I stopped subscribing to VegNews after they did the hatchet job on Loving Hut restaurants. I really haven’t missed it. There are plenty of vegan resources online.

  33. Melanie says:

    Colleen, I am so sorry for what you are going through- I know from experience that even in the vegan community there are screwed up people who are very good at “pretending” to be “compassionate” towards all…..
    My break-up with this oh-so vegan person turned out to be oh-so nasty !!!
    Good luck, stay strong, – you have many friends who love you and believe in you !!!!!

    • Barbara says:

      Ditto for me. Shockingly ugly and unethical split with an “ethical” vegan. In some ways it’s an unbelievable thing, but in the end, the dark side of human nature sometimes prevails. It’s very tough being on the receiving end of it.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Let’s face it, the magazine has gotten bloated and largely corporate. Most of the ads are for fattening and sugary vegan food-like products. Maybe this will enable a renewal to a better place for the magazine in general.

    • Kathleen says:

      Oh yeah, someone else will just come along and replace a business that took 15 years to build. Let’s hope someone has $500,000 to start a new business so you don’t have to see ads for things you don’t buy anyway. You’re not very smart, are you…

  35. Norma Wallace says:

    As some of you may recall, I was SFVS president at the time Colleen joined and started volunteering with SFVS. She came, like manna, from heaven…for SFVS. She did amazing things for our (30th?) anniversary party, and I knew she was destined for bigger and better. She was always charming, authentic, intelligent and gentle. And had great marketing chops.

    There was discussion when “VEGNEWS” came on the scene as Dixie Mahy pointed out she had used this term for the SFVS newsletter early on, Dixie having created the SFVS newsletter. The decision was not to make a fuss but to hope that VegNews was successful.

    So, JOE CONNOLLY, the whole thing was never just for you, about you, or because of you. You came to town after Colleen had started the groundwork for the business. We know. We Were All There.

    Ethical lives are not measured by how one acts in public. The most ethical dilemmas and resolutions are, or should take place in, private. Ethically. And yes, I have been through a “split” with financial issues, so I know from whence I speak.

    How can I help our dear Colleen?

    {FULL DISCLOSURE: I posted this earlier in the week to last year’s blog/article. It was suggested that I re-post to this “current” column.}

  36. Vegcurious says:

    Will there ever be another issue of VegNews or is it over?

    • ja says:

      excellent question; i renewed for three years. customer service keeps being apologetic and claiming a “hold” from the publisher. they are now late on the second issue of 2014. someone owes me some money if they end up tanking.

      • Vegcurious says:

        That is what I was afraid of. What a shame. Such a great magazine, beautiful to read. I hope they can come to terms and publish again.

  37. Karla says:

    Does anyone know what has been happening with VegNews? I was browsing the website and I saw this article by Colleen
    dated March 18, 2014. Does this mean she’s back? Has anything been resolved? Are they going to publish now?

  38. Rev. G says:

    I have emailed and called numerous times about my subscription with zero response. I don’t really care what their dispute is their subscribers paid good money to receive this publication and should not have to suffer a financial loss because two people can’t behave like adults and run the business accordingly. New issues need to start coming out or I had better receive a refund on my subscription…and at this point a personal apology for the inconvenience and lack of communication/consideration. It is the very least the subscriber base deserves after years of support.

  39. ja says:

    just spoke to CS again; she claims that editorial is “working” on the next issue, but they haven’t given a publication date yet.

    all subscribers will receive all the issues they are due when TPTB finally get their act together.

    again, she was very nice and very apologetic.

  40. ja says:

    hmm. and from the comments on their FB page, it would seem the magazine is still taking subscriptions. they REALLY need to remove the online subscription form and inform potential subscribers that there isn’t actually a print magazine, and that they don’t know when there’s going to be one. otherwise it’s kind of, ya know, fraud.

    they also should really really put something on the website, FB, etc about this.

  41. Kristine McGuire says:

    Well. Now I understand why I suddenly stopped receiving the magazine to which I’ve been a faithful subscriber for 13 YEARS without a single notification or answer to my queries. If I thought I could get my money back for the rest of my subscription I would ask but something tells me that is futile. What a sad ending to what has been a wonderful magazine.

  42. ja says:

    well, the below was posted today on their facebook page in response to a couple comments asking about the publication schedule. there was a rumor for a while that there was going to be a june issue; personally, i’m going to wait ’til about mid-june and call CS again and if they can’t tell me when the print edition is coming out, i’m going to ask for a refund.

    “Thank you for your note….VegNews is going through some operational challenges right now because of an ownership dispute—and the magazine’s production has been impacted. I am so sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy our website and social media properties for daily updates on great vegan news and lifestyle content. If you haven’t already, please call our subscription office directly at 760-291-1546 with specific questions. You’re also welcome to email me anytime at Thank you for your patience! Sincerely, Colleen Holland, Co-Founder of VegNews”

  43. Janis says:

    I think we’ve ALL been taken. Last I heard VegNews was to resume production and we would receive our next copy the beginning of June. I think it was June 2nd—I went back yesterday to my earlier posts on FB with them telling me the magazine would resume and ALL REFERENCES TO A JUNE PUBLICATION had been DELETED. I am no longer allowed to post on their page (I’m sure because of my previous posts–but I CAN reply to someone else’s comments). STILL, when people comment that they receive no reply at the VegNews office, they are told to e-mail or call directly. No one is getting back to them. People are saying they asked for a refund on their subscriptions months ago and STILL haven’t received the refund. BUT, VegNews still has a place on their website where someone can subscribe, and according to their Facebook page–they are traveling and partying all over the place. I guess our lost subscription money is paying for that and their legal fees. We’ve all been had–that’s bad enough–but they are still taking money from others and posting on FB that they have a fantastic vegan magazine.

  44. Cynthia Bentley says:

    I want my subscription that I paid for or my money back! Don’t involve us in all this divorce BS

  45. ja says:

    –and now the CS phone number no longer works. i figure they owe me about $40; i don’t expect to get it back.

    check out their FB page for the current state of the mud-slinging.

  46. Anastasia says:

    Wake up, folks. The vegan movement is full of narcissistic, mean, unethical, abusive people. ABUSIVE. The vegan “leaders” are often simply sociopaths seeking attention and fame. It is very sad for veganism.

    • Allan says:

      It sounds like Joe fits that description. But I’m not sure why you feel the movement is filled with others like him. What are other examples? Thanks

      • Patricia says:

        Wake up Anastasia! The WORLD is FULL of narcissistic,mean, unethical,abusive,& evil,money hungry people. EVIL! And what could be more sociopathic & psychopathic than eating meat & dairy,wearing animal fur & leather,supporting circuses,zoos,water parks,animal fighting,animal culls, medical research & cosmetic testing using animals(with no anesthetics). If you are unfortunate enough to be a nonhuman species, your life is often one filled with abuse,terror,torture & pain.Don’t blame all the vegans! Put the blame where it belongs! There are bad people in all walks of life!

  47. JoeTheMisogynisticWanker says:

    Joe is using the VegNews Facebook page to slam Colleen and accuse her of holding up publication of the new issues. How disgusting. VegNews and Colleen deserve better.

  48. J Ybarra Vegan says:

    I had a 2 year subscribtion & the last issue I got was in December! Regardless, of their personal problems they should have informed their customers $ instead of just taking our money.. its a shame I loved VN

  49. Patricia Bentley says:

    Boy! Do I feel stupid! I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t received a new issue since December. I was a new subscriber to VN. Now I found out it’s in legal chaos and I am sure I will never see a refund nor another issue! Rotten timing on my part.

  50. michele says:

    Good news for Colleen. The court has found Joe is in contempt of court, and the magazine will be placed into a receivership, a neutral third party. See the decisions here:

    • Former VegNews Employee says:

      This is WONDERFUL news!!! Many former VegNews employees are rejoicing that justice has been served :)

  51. ja says:

    thank you!

    there’s at least one upside to this mess: I discovered your blog. :) (and vegansaurus. :)

  52. ja says:

    oh, great:

    trial currently set for january 2015.

    so with the magazine in receivership, do we think they can continue putting it out? (not that i’m interested in getting it; just wondering how that all works…)

  53. michele says:

    Good news! Update for today, October 27: on Friday the court found that Colleen is 50 percent owner of VegNews, and this is a final decision. Justice at last. Here is the court order:

  54. Kathy says:

    Do we know if he’s complying with this order? Has he run it into the ground that Colleen is getting 50% of nothing but debt? Has he paid her back for anything that he was ordered to pay back? I doubt that she will ever see a dime.

  55. Alison says:

    I didn’t know this was going on, but they definitely should not of sold me a magazine subscription in July 2014. Your subscribers deserve some answers. I feel completely ripped off!

  56. Bob says:

    They took my money to renew my subscription as well last July. I wondered why I hadn’t received any magazines and just discovered today all this is going on. How disappointing!

  57. Daisy says:

    I saw somewhere that Vegnews has been sold. Does anyone know if thats true? If so Colleen surely will get somw of that money.

    • mindy says:

      I hope that is true! Not only justice for this owner put through the ringer but because I did enjoy reading the mag, but refused to do so after learning about all this

    • mindy says:

      I just checked their website, states they are currently not accepting new subscriptions, so that tells you something

  58. Eileen says:

    Posted to FB today:

    A Letter from VegNews
    April 9, 2015

    Publisher Colleen Holland shares an announcement with VegNews’ readers.

    Dear VegNews’ community,

    As many of you are aware, VegNews has faced some significant internal challenges over the past year—including the magazine being placed on hold pending resolution of a legal situation. Today, I am happy to report that all legal issues have been resolved. My new company, Fresh Healthy Media, now owns all assets of VegNews and is resuming publication of the magazine under my leadership.

    As Publisher of VegNews, I want to apologize for the lack of communication during this time—a very unfortunate byproduct of the legal situation. Sadly, until the court case was resolved, legal restrictions prohibited me from making statements about the status of the magazine and your subscription. Moving forward, I am committed to regaining your trust and am very enthusiastic about the future.

    If you’re a subscriber to VegNews Magazine, your subscription will be automatically adjusted to reflect any missed issues. You don’t need to do a thing—we’ll take care of everything. If you have further questions, our customer care center will be up and running in the next two weeks. And if you want to reach out to share anything else on your mind, I’ve set up a special email address just for readers. Please connect with us at, and I will personally read every message.

    I am thrilled to get back to bringing you the high-quality magazine and online content that you deserve. My team and I will be working around the clock to produce the Summer Issue, and do everything we can to ensure VegNews’ readers have the best possible experience in every way.

    I can’t thank you enough for your support.

    Most sincerely,

    Colleen Holland Signature

    Colleen Holland

  59. Tricia says:

    Veg News’ initial appeal for me was its animal advocacy focus. Vegan food was a sidebar. What I’ve seen in the last few years, is a magazine that has become just another cookbook and travel magazine. And we have far, far too many of those magazines.

    I know nothing of the legal battle that ensued between the two individuals publishing this magazine. It is not my place to comment on the their behaviours, especially on publicly, and I am shocked by the comments left on this website.

    Regardless, I will seek out a copy of Veg News in my local magazine outlet soon. I will hope that the travel theme takes a back seat and that food, while important, does not detract from the most important issue – the welfare of this world’s beautiful animals.

    One last point, I can only suspect that the corporate giants out there, those that see animals as chattels and inanimate objects, are anxious to see more disturbances like this one. How wonderful for them to see such discord in the animal welfare community, or one small aspect of it. I hope we can all remember – and I know I cannot speak for anyone but myself – that this battle for the welfare of animals is one against the big machine, not a internal one.


  60. Norma Jean Wallace says:

    Colleen, just submitted my responses to the Veggie Awards. WOW, I saw your fingerprints all over that genius marketing effort. Before I subscribed, I wanted to check in and see who was leading this effort. Fantastic, kudos, glad to see you at the helm. I’ll be delighted to start promoting VegNews throughout my network. Let me know any other way I may assist. Again, congrats on this successful “end” to that particular journey. Grateful for your energy in the movement, hope renewed, Norma

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