PETA and Baltimore Seafood Restaurant Feud With Dueling Billboards

Jimmy's Famous Seafood has been going after PETA for years. Since 2018, the feud has heightened from a Twitter war to dueling billboards.

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Nov. 11 2020, Published 4:03 p.m. ET

PETA isn't exactly known for being super sensitive while they tout their pro-vegan stance. And it turns out their penchant for harsh messaging has found a suitable Jimmy's Famous Seafood, a restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Since 2018, PETA and Jimmy's have been feuding. It all started when PETA posted a billboard in Baltimore urging people to stop eating crabs, obviously a staple of the Jimmy's Famous Seafood menu. Not to mention crab cakes are a famous dish in the Baltimore area.

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"I'm ME, not MEAT," the billboard read. "See the individual. Go vegan." Pictured next to those strong words was a picture of a crab. Jimmy's, to put it lightly, hated it.

The Jimmy's Famous Seafood started roasting PETA hard on Twitter. In one tweet, they posted a picture of PETA headquarters and wrote, "Come outside and show your face." Jimmy's was mad that PETA would come to Baltimore and tell people not to eat crabs. 

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That's like going to New York and telling people not to eat pizza. It's wrong. Jimmy's pestered the official PETA Twitter account for weeks, sharing pictures of (frankly, delicious-looking) seasoned crabs. PETA snapped back by saying "no one wants to be boiled alive" and sharing a link to a list of the best vegan restaurants in the U.S. Things were getting nasty.

But then, Jimmy's decided to up their game and snap back in a big way. They bought their own billboard and slyly referenced the PETA ad in their own. 

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"SteaMEd crabs," the Jimmy's billboard boasts. "Here to stay. Get famous." Them's fightin' words. The "ME" in "SteaMEd" is an obvious reference to the "I'm ME" of the PETA ad, but it's also subtle enough that if you weren't aware of the feud, you'd just think Jimmy's had weird capitalization habits.

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But if you think that's where this feud ends, you are sorely mistaken. It was a full-on billboard war at this point. PETA clapped back with a billboard that read, "Why so crabby? Letting others live might just save your life!"

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At this point, the feud was well under way and there were fans on both sides. Some thought it wasn't great business for Jimmy's to be harassing an organization like PETA. Others really believed PETA had it coming. Who goes after those who eat crabs in Baltimore?! It seems that even a fan got in on the fun and photoshopped their own billboard response, which, I will admit, made me chuckle.

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Jimmy's Famous Seafood wasn't done, though. They had one more trick up their sleeve, and it was an effective one. In July of 2019, Jimmy's Famous Seafood released their own new beer. They held a launch party for it and everything. There was a Facebook event. The beer was called PETA Tears.

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"One year ago, PETA launched an unprovoked attack on the crab industry here in Maryland," the event page reads. "Fresh off the perceived success of their asinine tussle with Barnum's Animal Crackers, the millionaires expected an easy victory in The Old Line State. Boy, were they wrong!"

In 2020, it seems the PETA / Jimmy's Famous Seafood feud has died down a little bit. They all probably have a lot of other stuff on their agendas. For example, PETA was busy blaming the spread of the pandemic on the fact that more of the world isn't vegan. And Jimmy's had to issue an apology after they mocked the vegan crabcakes at a local Black-owned restaurant and looked the other way when their fans and supporters bombarded the restaurant owner with racist comments and offensive messages.

So, the moral of the story here? No one involved in this snarky feud is the winner. In fact, I think all parties involved could act with so much more grace and humility. But then again, if that were the case, we wouldn't have a full-on billboard war.

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