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Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce to press charges against pie thrower

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 10, 2017

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says Tuesday’s incident where he was hit in the face with a pie has “reinvigorated” him to keep speaking out about social and community issues.

While addressing a business breakfast in Perth on Tuesday, a man walked onto the stage and threw a lemon meringue pie in Joyce’s face.

The man said after the incident he was protesting about Joyce’s support of marriage equality.


Joyce says the actions of the man have not deterred his and Qantas’s willingness to speak out on topics such as marriage equality, LGBTI rights and indigenous matters.

“We will continue to do so. No attempt at bullying us and suppressing our voice will work,” Joyce told reporters at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday.

“Certainly what happened yesterday has reinvigorated me in actual fact.

“It has really really encouraged me to be out there and to continue to be out there and express my views even more strongly that I have done in the past.

Joyce was among the 20 chief executives at some of Australia’s largest corporations who signalled their support of marriage equality in a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in March, including the heads of the Commonwealth Bank, Holden, Telstra and Wesfarmers.

His stance has drawn criticism from figures such as Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton, who accused the Qantas chief executive and others who signed the letter of using shareholders money to “throw their weight around in these debates”.

However, Joyce said it was part of his role as Qantas chief executive and “part of every corporate leader’s role to have a view on social and community issues”.

The Qantas boss confirmed he was pressing charges against the man.

“The police are continuing their investigation and intention is to send a message that this type of behaviour isn’t acceptable,” Joyce said.

“I will have every intention of pressing charges.

Joyce said he believed the man sent him an email to apologise.

“I believe there has been an apology coming in but I’m not sure there’s any regret at the issue that has occurred,” Joyce said.

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Comments (17)

  • Stephen White


    How many other prominent folks who suffered pie in the face pressed charges? Very few I suspect. Alan Joyce should lighten up!

  • Ben


    Oh for goodness sake it was a pie – and a nice one at that 🙂 I’m supportive of marriage equality however I’m also equally supportive of peaceful protest. The person apologised and you can’t say that a pie is threatening. Seriously, is pressing charges not going just a wee bit too far Mr Joyce?

  • Jasonp


    What a low act by the pie thrower, regardless of his reasoning. The fact that it was in response to Joyce’s and Qantas’s pro-equality stance makes it just that bit more ridiculous. It’s assault, and Joyce should pursue it as far as he can.

    I was also very uncomfortable at all of the news services showing the incident multiple times over a couple of days. I remember Channel 9 stopped showing streakers running on to cricket fields years ago so as to not encourage others to do it, surely this incident should have had similar treatment!

  • Mac Carter


    This type of behaviour is unacceptable regardless of a persons status.
    Australia is one of the few places in the world where everyone is free to live the way they choose to, and are able to protest in a peaceful manner,
    The protester ought to have made his stance with respect to marriage known in a more respectful manner.
    Mr Joyce also has the right to speak in support of his views with respect to marriage in a peaceful and respectful manner.
    He should not have to be aware of incoming pies, no matter how good they taste.

  • David


    Would all of you who said Joyce should drop it like a pie thrown at you? Assault is assault, and as a society, we need to draw the line. If we make it acceptable, we are on the road to continually allowing such things to happen.

  • Craig


    It was premeditated assault and the post event apology was undoubtedly issued to try and escape criminal liability. Its all well and good to have an opposing view but assault, intimidation and criminal damage are unacceptable behaviours irrespective of who you are or your view. I support AJ ‘s decision to proceed with charges.

  • Steve


    It doesn’t matter if it was a pie or anything else. Alan Joyce cannot just let this deranged old man get away with this by sending an apology with absolutely no remorse at all

    By pressing charges he is standing up for himself and gay rights

  • Tim


    I fully agree – no matter your opinions, that sort of behaviour is never understandable or acceptable under any circumstances. Alan’s decision to fight back is crucial, otherwise this is deemed acceptable.

  • Peter


    It would be a dangerous precedent set if charges are not pursued against this man. It was assault, and is unacceptable. A message needs to be sent that if you engage in this behaviour, there will be consequences.

  • Raymond


    Not condoning this behaviour, however AJ / Qantas / Big Business should keep out of these type of social issues such as same-sex marriage, particularly when they are extremely controversial as this is.

    It has nothing to do with them and they should not be attempting to meddle or use their influence to sway opinion that has no direct relevance to the world of business or their business interests.

    We all have our opinion and using their financial and/or influential clout to take sides on an irrelevant issue (to them as a business) when this should be an individual / personal matter is wrong.

  • JR


    I can’t believe anyone would say Joyce should ‘lighten up’.!!! It was an assault and he should take the stupid old codger to the cleaners and press charges to the fullest extent of the law.

  • Ben


    It’s a pie people. A pie. It didn’t hurt him. It made a bit of a mess but it didn’t hurt. It’s intention was not to harm but to cause a bit of embarrassment and maybe as a bit of a joke and to to also bring to light the reason for the protest. In a free society everyone has the right to protest – regardless of if you agree with them or not. Beyond an apology and maybe offering to pay the cost of his dry cleaning bill the protester should not be in fear of being charged with assault. Having said that if the person had actually assaulted him – thrown a punch or caused physical harm then yes Mr Joyce would have every right to press charges with the full weight of the law. However there is a difference between that and a pie.

    @David – If a pie was thrown at me, I would not press charges if no physical harm was done. I would shrug it off and get on with life. I’d accept the apology and maybe ask that the cleaning costs be covered. Although if I was a public figure with Mr Joyce’s salary I could probably easily afford a dry cleaning bill – So what’s the problem.

    I’m by no means condoning assault and this was not assault. It was a pie in the face and no harm was done. There needs to be a bit of perspective here,

  • Ray E


    What if, when he pressed the pie into his face, the lenses in his glasses broke? Definitely need to send a message.

  • Ben


    @Ray E – Like I said if it did cause physical harm, (in your example: Bruised, broken glasses that ended up cutting him etc) – then yes it is assault. However a cold pie is fairly harmless. It is soft and not exactly what you’d call a lethal weapon. It would probably be unlikely to break something like glasses. The softness of the meringue at the top of the pie would have been more like being hit with jelly or custard. Meringues don’t have hard, baked crusts at the top like your traditional pie. I know this as lemon meringue pie is my Mum’s signature dessert 🙂

    So really no harm done, as I’ve been saying certainly not something that deserves an assault charge. A bit of embarrassment and news headlines for a day or so. Move on and deal with things that really matter.

    Also for those that say that a message needs to be sent otherwise it will lead to it becoming acceptable if it’s not followed up. Take a moment and think: If it is not pursued, I hardly think it will lead to an epidemic of pie throwing – where you’re in danger of being whacked in face by a few meringues each time you set foot outside your front door. Pies are better eaten than thrown. As I said, surely a bit of perspective is needed .

  • Stewart


    I can’t believe those people who think he should not press charges because “he didn’t get hurt physically”.
    Some (including I) see that psychological bullying like this can be just as damaging as anything. It’s people like that who breed bullying children with their “it was just a joke, it’s the others who should ‘lighten up'”.

  • Nicholas


    Personally I resent captains of industry such as Joyce using their positions to act as pulpit bullies. So I’m all with the pie thrower. Yes no doubt he is a silly old man, but Joyce shouldn’t be overly surprised that his sermonising does generate strong feelings.

  • Eric


    How can a few contributors argue that this was not assault because it did not cause any physical harm. If I spray a pesky nosey neighbour over the fence with a bit of water from the hose I can be done for assault.
    Alan Joyce was well within his rights to press charges as this was clearly assault under the law and a public humiliation. He also has a private life as well as his corporate life and has every right to comment like any other citizen on topical issues.

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