A charge for Domino’s Pizza on con man Anthony Strangis’s credit card led to the downfall of Pure Food & Wine, a trendy raw organic restaurant once at the epicenter of the vegan New York food scene. Dubbed the “Queen of Vegan Cuisine,” Wharton grad Sarma Melngailis gained celebrity status after starting the restaurant due to her business sense and model-like good looks. The restaurant drew in hordes of celebrities as well, from Owen Wilson to Alec Baldwin. However, after Strangis entered her life under the pseudonym “Shane Fox,” Melngailis fell rapidly into an underworld of fraud and opulence. Created by Chris Smith, who produced Tiger King and directed Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. is Netflix’s latest entry in a long line of scammer series premiering this year — but from its trailer, it might be the most bizarre.
Strangis takes the rote gaslighting in shows like The Tinder Swindler and escalates it. Over the course of their ill-fated marriage, he allegedly convinces Melngailis that he can make her and her pit bull dog immortal if she listens to his every demand. Just when you think it can’t get any weirder, a producer in the trailer asks one of Melngailis’s associates, “Do you know about the meat suit?” “What’s the meat suit?” she replies with the world-weariness of someone who has seen some shit. A few states and $2 million later, Strangis transforms Melngailis into the worst thing a vegan can be: a Domino’s Pizza enjoyer. To find out what the meat suit entails, stream Bad Vegan on Netflix on March 16.