Luke Steele reappears with the Moorland Monitors, despite Patagonia's denials of any association
Earlier this year over 2,000 supporters of rural communities signed a petition, launched by the Countryside Alliance, calling on Patagonia to cut its ties with an animal rights activist group, Moorland Monitors.
The petition came after it emerged the US clothing company had provided funding to the group for video and surveillance equipment.
A basic search of Moorland Monitors’ social media output alone demonstrates they, rather than being the environmental group they purport to be, are in fact a group fuelled exclusively by a hatred of the field sports community. By his own admission, one of the most prominent ‘Moorland Monitors’ is Luke Steele.
Steele is a convicted criminal who was previously sentenced to an 18-month prison sentence for a campaign of harassment and intimidation.
When Patagonia CEO, Ryan Gellert, was questioned as to why his organisation were happy to sponsor animal rights activists, who routinely promotes the harassment of gamekeepers around the country, a statement was provided which sought to assure people that an internal investigation revealed that Luke Steele had no involvement in the Moorland Monitors.
Indeed, so adamant were the Moorland Monitors to attempt to distance themselves from Luke Steele, presumably due to pressure on their funding as a result of their affiliation with a hardcore criminal activist, that they released an extraordinary statement on their website which originally read: “Moorland Monitors have absolutely nothing to do with Luke Steele. Luke has caused nothing but trouble for MM and our volunteers, piggybacking our work for his own ends. Luke's actions, values and attitudes have nothing to do with us and we are in no way associated with him.” Interestingly, that statement has since been significantly edited.
The Patagonia senior management seemed to accept the Moorland Monitors version of events, Luke Steele went quiet for a bit and nothing more was said.
But yet over the weekend the Guardian produced a long feature on moorland management, and who should it quote and photograph at centre stage? Yup, Luke Steele.
The article quotes another Moorland Monitor, Mick Bray, who, along with Bob Berzins, describes himself as a 'fell running vegan' before going on to quote Luke Steele as he marches on ahead of his fellow Moorland Monitors.
So has Luke Steele been accepted back into the Moorland Monitors? Or was he never really out of them?