(Spoilers for Netflix’s Bad Vegan will be found below.)
Ex-celebrity restauranteur Sarma Melngailis, the Bad Vegan subject, has taken umbrage with multiple elements of the Netflix show, which charts how she rose of the New York City restaurant charts and ended up as a fugitive of the law. Sarma first took issue with how she felt “sick” over how Netflix was marketing the show (which “mocked” her cult-like belief in the dog-immortality claim). She also didn’t appreciate the nebulous ending of the show, which didn’t make entirely clear when she had spoken on the phone (it was 2019) with ex-husband Anthony Strangis. That arguably lent the appearance that the two were recently in contact, and joking, and it led to a lot of criticism coming Sarma’s way.
Sarma’s now very upset about promotional images for the show, which show a glammed up version of her, which she compared to a fall-from-grace iteration that shows her looking much worse for wear. Here’s what she wrote on Instagram:
“Me looking like a glamorized villain eating a cash salad is not me. It may help Netflix sensationalize the story, but at my expense, and at the expense of a greater understanding of the larger issue including #coercivecontrol, #narcisssisticabuse, #cultmindcontrol and more.”
Via the New York Post, Sarma also revealed a 2016 letter that she’d written to Strangis, who she accused of using her email account to ask Alec Baldwin for money. She also accused him of brainwashing her and taking everything away from her to support his gambling habit:
“Everything is gone – the restaurant, the brand, my home, my work, my employees, my customers, even all my things: clothes, papers, files, photos, everything. Also, my integrity. And scariest of all for me: my independence. You figured me out – what would work on me. You reeled me in, then got me trapped by borrowing money you’d promise to repay. Only a little at first, but that was the hook. I wanted to be repaid, so I’d let you back in. I’d let you back into my home when I’d resolved to have nothing to do with you again because you were telling me you had cash to pay me back.
“Then somehow you’d pull some insane mind-f***kery and would end up borrowing more. How that happened, I don’t even know. Why did I give you more? How did that happen? How did you do that?”
Sarma, as detailed in Bad Vegan, eventually funneled nearly $2 million from her restaurant funds, stiffing investors and depriving her employees of paychecks for weeks. She and Strangis went on the run, staying at hotel casinos and in random places, eventually getting busted for ordering Dominos pizza and wings. The story irked a lot of people and also seemed very unbelievable, but sometimes, life really is stranger than fiction.
In the end, Sarma insists that she used her Netflix money to pay back her employees. She’s apparently writing, and maybe that will turn into a book, and she’s made no secret of wanting her own restaurant again and keeping Anthony Strangis far away from her while investing her time with her her dog, Leon. Hopefully, it stays that way.
(Via New York Post)