Food Network star confronted by activists at Napa book signing

Screengrab from a video of Tyler Florence reacting to a disruption at the Cookbook Festival in Napa, Calif., on June 23, 2024 by Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) animal rights activists. (DxE via Bay City News)

Celebrity chef Tyler Florence was confronted by animal rights activists during a Sunday cookbook signing in the city of Napa.  

On at least three different occasions during the event, activists holding large yellow signs reading "Stop Supporting Petaluma Poultry's Criminal Animal Abuse" interrupted the Food Network star as he talked with guests.    

The activists, part of Berkeley-based animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, were protesting Florence's partnership with Petaluma Poultry, a subsidiary of poultry giant Perdue Farms.   

Florence stopped in Napa after a nationwide tour to promote his recent cookbook. Guests paid for an all-you-can-eat buffet of barbecue from one of Florence's restaurants, as well as the chance to hear the chef record a live podcast.  

Florence was serving guests from the buffet when an activist, holding a yellow banner shouted at him to "cut ties now," in a video provided by Direct Action Everywhere.   

Apparently startled, Florence let out a small yelp and appeared to quickly flee toward a nearby building. 

Petaluma Poultry has become a frequent target of Direct Action Everywhere over alleged violations of animal cruelty laws. 

In 2018, the group released images showing allegedly sick birds laying across the floor at a facility they allege is run by one of Petaluma Poultry's contractors.   

And Zoe Rosenberg, one of the group's activists, is currently facing felony charges in Sonoma County for allegedly dressing as a factory worker, breaking into Petaluma Poultry and removing chickens in June 2023.  

"If Tyler Florence had seen what I've seen in Petaluma Poultry factory farms and its slaughterhouse, he would agree this criminal animal abuse is unacceptable," Rosenberg said in a statement Monday. 

Perdue Farms did not respond to requests for comment by press time. 

Disruptions have become somewhat commonplace at Florence's public appearances. Direct Action Everywhere launched similar protests at multiple stops along Florence's cookbook tour, the group's social media posts show. Florence could not be immediately reached for comment regarding the ongoing disruptions.  

At his Napa event on Sunday, more activists confronted Florence after the buffet, while he was on stage recording a spot for cookbook podcast Salt & Spine.   

"What do you think of it?" a protester asked Florence on stage, in an apparent reference to their plea for him to cut ties with the farm.   

"We think you are an idiot," replied someone who escorted the two activists away from the stage, much to the amusement of a small crowd gathered to watch Florence.  

At another point in the podcast, another activist similarly confronted Florence, pleading with him to cut ties with Petaluma Poultry. 

The podcast host assured the protestor that the podcast would address the topic, and Florence said he was happy to discuss poultry farming. It is unclear if the podcast ever did.  

A group of onlookers and security removed the activist and Florence turned his attention back towards the small crowd.  

"Do you guys like chicken?" he asked his audience. "I like chicken."