Photo: Stephanie Keith/Reuters
The “QAnon shaman” who stormed the U.S Capitol building last week while wearing a fur-covered, horned hat. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Reuters

The double-standard of prison food highlights another instance of white privilege

The treatment of domestic terrorists from Jan.6 has carried over to their jail sentences.


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The “QAnon shaman” who stormed the U.S Capitol building last week while wearing a fur-covered, horned hat will be given organic meals in jail after refusing to eat the regular food he was provided.

A lawyer for 33-year old Jacob Chansley, aka Jake Angeli, said during his initial court appearance on Monday that he was refusing his meals behind bars due to his strict organic diet. 

Arizona Magistrate Judge Deborah Fine ordered U.S Marshals to work with his attorney to resolve the issue, and they abided. 

His mother, Martha Chansley, told the Arizona Republic newspaper that if he doesn’t eat organic food, he gets very sick. 

The truth is, even when foods are labeled as organic, there could still contain traces of pesticides. 

Lisa Moskovitz, RD, founder and CEO of the NY Nutrition Group, told Insider that “the organic might have less pesticides, but it’s not going to be necessarily pesticide-free.”

She explained that the human body is perfectly capable of filtering out pesticides, “so this sounds like somebody who’s built up this idea in their head that this food could directly cause them to get ill. It’s not really something that’s scientific, it’s more psychological.” 

Angeli is a self proclaimed “shaman” and insists that his extremely restrictive diet consisting solely of organic foods is for religious reasons. 

Although citizens have a First Amendment right to practice their religion freely, prisoners are not granted the same level of rights. 

So why is a White supremacist and domestic terrorist being given special treatment, when prisoners across the country are being denied dietary restrictions based on valid religious reasons? 

An organic double standard

As the news broke on social media, many were shocked at how quick and easy it was for Angeli to have his wishes granted. The word “organic” started trending on Twitter as users expressed their thoughts. 

“It’s a jail, Jacob. Not a Whole Foods,” one commenter wrote. 

An overarching theme that arose in the responses online was the blatant demonstration of white privilege. Users made comparisons to brown migrant children in cages that are struggling to receive basic nutrition, and instances of Muslim inmates being forced to eat pork during Ramadan. 

Others shared their own experiences concerning denial of dietary needs in prisons. 

Founder of IGNITE National, Jeneisha C. Harris, talked about how she was given a bologna sandwich and stale tortilla chips when she was in jail, despite being vegan for three years. 

“But a judge granted the request of a Capitol intruder’s desire for organic food in prison? You can not reform this type of privilege,” Harris wrote.

Meanwhile, in ICE facilities at the U.S-Mexican border, adults and children are routinely denied access to basic human rights.

In June 2019, pediatrician Dolly Lucio Sevier evaluated 39 minors at the McAllen facility and reported that the conditions were deplorable and comparable to torture. 

There were “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water or adequate food.” 

There have also been numerous reports of Muslim prisoners being served pork, which they cannot consume for religious reasons. 

This happened during Ramadan, a month of spiritual fasting, where Muslim prisoners were given no choice but to break their fasts with peanut butter sandwiches and crackers, barely giving them sufficient calories to sustain themselves. 

The double standards between Angeli’s case and the plight of so many inmates being denied access to their dietary needs as well as basic medical attention is astounding. 

Organic insanity

When Angeli returned to Arizona after the siege, he told local news outlets that he had no worries or fears about his arrest because he felt as though he hadn’t broken any laws. 

Before he was taken into custody, he compared his actions to those of Mohandas K Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., insisting that he was participating in “civil disobedience.”

That kind of ignorance and violence should not be rewarded with special treatment. 

Attorney Ron Filipkowski said it best with his tweet this morning. 

“I’m going to have one of my Black clients in jail today demand organic food. Just to see what happens,” he wrote. 


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