Saturday, May 13, 2017

The glory of pie-to-the-face protests: A history of pieing

Earlier this week a man shoved a lemon meringue pie into the face of Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce while the executive was giving a speech. The assailant wanted to protest Joyce’s stance on same-sex marriage. (See photo above.)
The middle-school boy in me likes to see people in power take a pie to the kisser every now and then. Yes, the assailants should be charged with a crime, but a misdemeanor offense. Pieing someone is a dick move and the result is mostly embarrassment and a dry-cleaning bill for the target.
The pie-to-the-face gag has a long history in comedy. It’s also been picked up by professional baseball teams for post-game celebrations.
It’s one of the go-to protest moves by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
What follows are some famous recipients of a pie to the face.

Equal Rights Amendment opponent Phyllis Schlafly was hit in the face with an apple pie in New York in April 1977.

Anita Bryant, a popular singer who became a prominent U.S. gay rights opponent, was struck in the face with a pie during a television interview in Des Moines, Iowa, in October 1977.

Future French President Nicolas Sarkozy took a pie to the face in 1997 when he was mayor of Paris suburb Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates got a cream pie to the face in February 1998 as he headed to a meeting in Brussels.

Actor Sylvester Stallone was pied by protestors during the opening of a Planet Hollywood restaurant in Montreal in July 1998.

Economist Milton Friedman was pied at a corporate conference in San Francisco in October 1998.

Renato Ruggiero, director general of the World Trade Organization, got a custard pie thrown in his face after giving a speech at a conference in London in October 1998.

Three people hit San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown with cherry, pumpkin and tofu cream pies as he gave a speech in November 1998. The assailants were protesting the mayor’s policies on homelessness.

Canadian Human Resources Minister Pierre Pettigrew was pied in January 1999 before a news conference in Montreal.

Procter and Gamble CEO John Pepper was the target of pie-throwers at Northwestern University in 1999. The assailants from PETA were protesting the company’s animal testing.

Illinois Gov. George Ryan was hit with a pie in the face by a protester while speaking with reporters following a public forum in Carbondale, Ill., in May 2000.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien was hit with a pie in the face by a protestor in August 2000.

Frank Loy, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, was hit in the face with a chocolate cream cake in The Hague, Netherlands, in November 2000. He was the U.S. representative at the World Climate Change Convention.

Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling received a blueberry tofu cream pie to the face in San Francisco in June 2001.

King Carl Gustaf of Sweden was hit in the face with a strawberry tart during a royal visit to the southwestern city of Varberg, Sweden, in September 2001.

Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay was hit in the face by a cream pie while at a meeting in June 2002.

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein was hit with a banana cream pie in Calgary in July 2003.

Former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader was hit in the face with cake in August 2003 at a political event in San Francisco.

Television personality Jeremy Clarkson was hit with a banana meringue pie in September 2005 after he received an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University. The assailant was an environmental activist.

Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was hit in the face with a tofu pie in October 2005 by a PETA protestor. The protestor yelled “Fur hag!” The attack was in response to Wintour’s support for wearing fur.

Canadian Fisheries Minister Gail Shea was pied in the face during a speech in January 2010 in Burlington, Ontario, by a PETA protestor.

News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch took a shaving cream pie to the face while testifying on the phone-hacking scandal in the U.K. in July 2011.

Sahra Wagenknecht, a prominent member of Germany’s far-left Linke party, was hit in the face with a chocolate cream pie in May 2016. An anti-fascist group took the action to protest her stance on refugees.

Related articles: 

The Cultural Evolution of Pie in the Face or Pieing (HubPages; Jan. 29, 2013)

Rupert Murdoch joins pantheon of pie victims (CNN; July 20, 2011)

A photographic history of pieing (Washington Post; July 19, 2011)

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