The man arrested for attacking Rupert Murdoch with a foam pie during parliamentary hearings announced his intentions on Twitter before making his move.
Jonnie Marbles, a self-described writer, comedian, activist and blogger, attempted to hit Murdoch with a foam-filled foil pie as he was giving evidence to the News of the World phone hacking inquiry. He reportedly shouted: "You naughty billionaire" while doing so.
In a move that will make the prosecuting counsel very happy indeed, Marbles tweeted his intentions seconds before the attack. "It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat," he wrote.
Murdoch received a glancing blow from the pie to the right shoulder, before his third wife Wendi Deng attacked Marbles, aided by parliamentary staff and Murdoch's son James. Marbles, whose real name is Jonathan May-Bowles, was arrested, and the committee declared a 10-minute recess to allow the room to come to order.
Foam pie attacks have been used for political protest for more than 40 years, starting as part of the US counter-cultural movement in the 1970s. Bill Gates was hit in 1998 on a visit to Belgium, which apparently led to some sackings in his personal security department.
Marbles's attack is similar to Aaron Barschak's, who infiltrated Prince William's 21st birthday in 2003 in Arabic dress. Barschak, who called himself a "comedy terrorist", also stood for election twice, and is now reduced to giving occasional interviews on The James Whale Show.
Barschak was never prosecuted, but the policing environment is very different now, especially in light of the serious nature of the phone hacking hearings. Student protestors are receiving long sentences for what were considered minor public order offences, and Marbles is unlikely to escape prosecution.
Legendary comedian John Cleese often refers to a childhood spent using jokes as a way to escape bullying and harassment. One can only hope that the inmates of Brixton prison are sufficiently amused by Marbles's gags to get him through his stretch.
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