Rupert and James Murdoch’s testimony before Parliament was halted Tuesday after a man at the hearing assaulted Rupert with a foam pie. A self-proclaimed comedian turned activist named Jonathan May-Bowles (a.k.a. Jonnie Marbles) hinted toward the incident via Twitter before he calmly walked up the aisle and planted the pie in Murdoch’s face. The newspaper mogul’s wife, Wendi Deng, who was sitting behind him in the front row, then stood up and clocked the assailant. May-Bowles has since been arrested, but the pie is taking on a whole new life. “A pie in the hand is worth two in the face,” @MurdochCreamPie tweeted shortly after the incident.
Bill Gates wasn’t exactly well received during a 1998 trip to Brussels for a visit with European Union officials. The Microsoft chairman got a face full of pie when he was entering a government building to give a speech on education. But it was all in good fun. Sort of. The attacker was Noël Godin, nicknamed “The Glooper,” who was a renowned pie prankster known for getting his kicks on creaming the rich and famous. Godin even dubbed himself “l’entarteur,” or “The Pieman,” and especially enjoyed taking aim at people whom he predicted would throw a fit over his antics. Apparently, Gates’ calm reaction was a letdown, and Godin was disappointed he didn’t make more of a fuss about the incident.
In the middle of giving a speech at the University of Arizona in 2004, conservative author and social commenter Ann Coulter gasped into the microphone as two “Al Pieda” assailants ran at her from backstage. The self-described “polemicist” who likes to “stir the pot” tried to dodge the attack, but ultimately got a smear of custard on her shoulders and face. According to a report, the Al Pieda members revealed themselves to be then-24-year-olds Phillip Edgar Smith and William Zachary Wolff of Tucson. Smith told police that he and his cohort were "throwing the pies at her ideas, not at her."
“The Glooper” strikes again! Around the same time that he went after Bill Gates, Belgium’s pie prankster shoved a plateful of custard in the face of France's then Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy. He shrugged it off back then, but it’s hard to imagine Sarkozy keeping his cool in the event of being creamed as the president of France.
Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea got a mouthful of tofu tart while giving a speech in Burlington, Ontario. The culprit was Emily McCoy, a New York City woman, who had chosen to lash out at Shea for Canada’s mistreatment of seals. Lindsay Rajt, a PETA activist, said the organization did not have anything to do with the pie-in-the-face, but did say that McCoy reportedly ran out of the conference room shouting, “Shame on Shea! Stop the slaughter of seals!” according to National Post. Shea cleaned up and respectfully finished her speech. PETA’s executive vice president said in a statement: “A little tofu pie on her face is hardly comparable to the blood on her hands.”
Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard
In April 2011, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, the head of the Belgian Catholic Church, took not one but four custard pies to the face while speaking at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve. And it wasn’t the first time Léonard got creamed by “The Glooper.” In October 2010, the archbishop was hit with a cherry pie during a service at a Brussels cathedral. Léonard has been targeted by gay-rights activists ever since he blamed AIDS on promiscuity and gay sex and called the disease “a sort of intrinsic justice.”
Lord Peter Mandelson
At the launch of the British government’s low-carbon economy summit, politician Lord Peter Mandelson had to deal with an unexpected green issue when an environmental protester tossed a cup of gooey fluorescent lime–colored custard in his face. “He corrupted our government in order to bring about something that’s going to destroy the climate,” the assailant said before scuttling away with a friend. Mandelson emerged unfazed several minutes afterward for a live interview, and later he even downplayed the incident to the media. “I am prepared to take my fair share of the green revolution on my shoulders, but I am less keen on having it in my face,” Mandelson joked, before adding, “but I don’t think anyone should overreact.”
You would think Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth author who has called vegans ignorant and childlike, would have known better than to speak her mind at the annual San Francisco Anarchist Book Fair in 2010, where vegan anarchists abound. But apparently she had to learn the hard way when she was speaking at the podium and three men wielding cayenne-laced pies came out from behind and attacked. Then an audience member tossed a banana peel in her direction for good measure. Consider it a lesson in knowing one’s audience.
In 2008 author and columnist for The New York Times Thomas Friedman was temporarily blinded while giving a speech at Brown University when two activists stormed the stage and slammed whipped-cream pies in his face. Though Friedman supports the environment, some extremists disagree with his policies. The pie throwers left a flier in their wake that said Friedman got the desserts in his face “for telling the world that the free market and techno fixes can save us from climate change.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Lindsay Rajt pied Gail Shea in the face, when it was Emily McCoy