Fans are interested about what happened when Netflix’s documentary Bad Vegan: Fame, Fraud, and Fugitives. debuted. Sarma Melngailis, the owner of the now-defunct Pure Food and Wine restaurant, is the topic of the film. Sarma stole about $2 million from the eatery and its employees with her ex-husband, Shane Fox (real name Anthony Strangis).
So do Netflix pay Sarma Melngailis for her documentary series? Let’s find out.
After all, it looks into how her relationship with Anthony Strangis (or Shane Fox) reportedly turned her from a vegan queen to a crook who misled both her employees and investors.
Sarma essentially outlines every one of her former partner’s assertions in this four-parter, from promises of pet immortality and financial security to talks of ethereal existence and a mysterious military career.
So, now that we know a lot more about her weird ordeals and the large sums of money she stole from her enterprises, let’s have a look at how much she made from this global Netflix spectacular, shall we?
How Much Money Did Netflix Pay Sarma Melngailis?
At one point, Sarma Melngailis had it all: an Ivy League education, a perfect companion in her pet dog Leon, dependable staff, and her Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck restaurants.
According to the series, she lost practically everything, including her reputation, when Anthony Strangis entered the picture and forced her to steal nearly $1.6 million from both staff and funders. This includes stealing $844,000 from investors, $400,000 in sales tax, and roughly $40,000 in employee pay, according to reports.
With that stated, it appears as if the once-famous restaurateur took advantage of the situation and fully compensated her former employees through her participation in ‘Bad Vegan’ — she didn’t profit monetarily otherwise.
On March 16, 2022, Sarma wrote on her website, “It’s normal to practise – to say nothing of journalistic honesty – that subjects do not get paid for participation in films, at least not the credible ones.”
“In my instance, however, the producers made an exemption at my request so that I could pay the complete sum my former employees were entitled — payments that accrued after my disappearance in 2015,” she wrote.
This piece weighted the heaviest of all the suffering and countless debts that resulted from my breakdown.” Sarma also stated she’s “humiliated” by her past acts of essentially leaving them, but she’s now working hard to improve and become more self-aware while attempting to pay off the outstanding debts.
“In exchange for the source documents and photographs I gave to the documentary, the producers paid an attorney on my behalf who then, on the same day… [back in 2020], wired full payment directly to the attorney representing the employees,” the convicted felon added.
(To be clear, while the monies did not go through me, I did declare them for income tax purposes.) The point is that, except from reimbursing former employees, I made no money from ‘Bad Vegan.’ This is something Netflix and/or the creators can confirm.”
In summary, Sarma did not receive a single penny from the film that reintroduced her and Anthony Strangis’ perplexing storey to the public eye. We should also highlight that she has subsequently stated that she is not in any way, shape, or form in contact with her ex-husband.
Stream full episodes of ‘Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.’ only on Netflix right now.