Rupert Murdoch’s wife punches pie-throwing protester

Yesterday, during his testimony before parliament, Rupert Murdoch was attacked with a pie made of shaving cream. Seated behind him, his wife Wendi Deng Murdoch immediately leapt out of her chair to punch the pie-throwing culprit. Deng sat behind her husband in a neatly tailored pink jacket and appeared aggravated by the questioning from News of the World‘s former editor Rebekah Brooks of her husband and his son James. The British parliament is conducting an investigation of phone hacking by Murdoch’s now closed News of the World tabloid.

Ms. Murdoch’s actions towards the protestor were labeled “fighting back” by Fox News, who applauded a wife standing by her man in a situation other than a political sex scandal. Fox describes Wendi’s actions as heroic saying that, “…future pranksters, beware. Faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall hearing tables with a single bound. It’s a bird; it’s a plane… No, it’s Super Wendi! My hero.”

Someone should point out to Fox News that this phone-hacking scandal which has taken the UK by storm has yet to fully explode on our shores, as reports surface that Murdoch-owned publications hacked into the cell phones of 9/11 victim’s families. Is Wendi going to also punch a pie-throwing 9/11 family member? Would Fox News still call her a hero?

The Daily Beast wrote about the incident under the title, Crouching Tiger, Flying Murdoch, likely referring to Ms. Murdoch’s Chinese roots. Nice way to play the race card, DB.

Ms. Murdoch’s actions definitely stand out in a world of media and politics where wives stoically stand by their powerful husbands and the audience is forced to imagine what thoughts are going through their minds at any moment. What’s troubling is the references to Mrs. Murdoch’s ethnicity as if that has something to do with her reaction to flying shaving cream. Furthermore, why is she being praised for this behavior? I don’t think Michelle Obama or Nancy Pelosi would be praised by Fox News for their “heroic” actions in responding to a white foam pie thrower.

What do you think of the media coverage of Mrs. Murdoch and the punch heard around the world?

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/napoleoninrags/ Napoleoninrags

    As many, many readers stated on the threads about glitter bombing and the like: throwing things at people is not a prank, nor is it non-violent protest. It is assault.

    While Mrs. Murdoch’s actions should not be valorized for political gain, neither should it be a surprise that assault begets assault. Nor do we, legally or generally morally, excuse assault because the assaulter was wronged or has a grievance with the person assaulted.

  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    The actual pie throwing incident is much in line with harmless civil disobedience, like glittering homophobic candidates for President.

    The response to me by Murdoch’s wife is more a curiosity than anything else. I could speculate, groundlessly, about why she acted or what her motives were. But without the facts, I wouldn’t be making a fair comparison.

    • http://feministing.com/members/roklam/ SmooveS

      From the sound of her hand hitting his head, I’m guessing that she was pissed and from those pictures before the incident, frustrated as hell that her spouse was being vilified (rightfully so?) by that tribunal.

    • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

      nazza, I’m with you, though I know a number of people on this site have an issue with pranktivism of this sort. Yes. I dislike Murdoch and the things he’s done and I found this funny. As for red herrings about what if it was a rape victim, well, I’d view that as differently because the situation and context would be different. Hacking a murder victim’s cell phone for personal gain is not the same to me as being a victim of rape.

      That being said, I can also understand his wife’s reaction. Just ask the last person who thought she could easily shove aside my disabled husband to steal a cab! You love someone, they’re getting messed with, support them! OTOH, I wouldn’t fall in love with someone who endorsed the things Murdoch does in the first place. But I understand it, that protective urge.

  • http://feministing.com/members/gillianlove/ Gillian Love

    I can tell you over here in the UK, the reportage of this hasn’t really focussed on the punch. In fact, almost every paper today had the headline ‘Murdoch eats humber pie.’ Hilarious.

    And, napoleoninrags? Come on. Seriously. Shaving foam? Glitter? Assault? So the guy is being reprimanded, and he disrupted proceedings. In substantive terms, no one’s feeling too sorry for the ‘victim’ of this particular prank.

    • http://feministing.com/members/napoleoninrags/ Napoleoninrags

      Please go read the posts on these other topics. These are forms of violence and what happened in this case is exactly why.

      Another example: if this were done to a woman trying to enter a clinic or a rape survivor, no one would be doubting that it is assault.

      But it can get a lot worse than this: all it is going to take is one person trying something like this to a president, or even a candidate with a secret service detail and we are going to have a far from “non-violent” incident on our hands.

      So yes, I’m serious, and I’m not going to “come on” no matter how much dismissive tone you throw at me.

    • davenj

      Yes. Assault. If Planned Parenthood workers were having stuff thrown at them it’d be assault, too.

      These aren’t pranks. They’re not jokes. They’re aggressive actions intended to humiliate their targets through force.

    • http://feministing.com/members/napoleoninrags/ Napoleoninrags

      And just to clarify: the point has nothing to do with whether one is “substantively” feeling sorry for Murdoch (I’m 100 % not).

      The point is that it is a dangerous activism strategy that is likely to beget a cycle of violence rather than make its point.

      Further, many on the left believe in strict non-violence as an activist strategy and thus reject even what another poster has excused as “minor assault” on these ethical grounds.

      My own beliefs shade more toward the practical dangers of these practices, since I do believe in the necessity of force in some circumstances.

      Finally, I think it is important that people understand that such activities are illegal (at least here in the U.S.) and could result in felony convictions.

      This last bit is neither here nor there ethically – many civil disobedience tactics can and are intended to result in arrest and possibly conviction – but people should at least know that before attempting such things and the coverage of them as “pranks” is thus potentially problematic.

  • http://feministing.com/members/gillianlove/ Gillian Love

    That sould, of course, read ‘humble pie.’ Oh dear.

  • http://feministing.com/members/rhian/ rhian

    Would Fox feel this way about Michelle Obama? Probably not, but who knows. Does Rupert Murdoch deserve a shaving cream pie to the face? Probably. But if someone rushed up to attack my partner wielding anything at all, yeah, I’d punch them. Sure, maybe it shouldn’t be glorified. But I don’t get the outrage here. Was she supposed to just let it happen?

  • davenj

    The media coverage for this is annoying, and tinged with racial overtones, but I’m glad somebody finally hit one of these “pranksters” committing assault.

    • liv79

      Wait, I’m confused. You think assault is bad, but you’re glad someone got assaulted for assaulting someone?

  • makomk

    Of course, Fox News are owned by Murdoch and have been blaming this on UK newspapers that are just out to get their competitors… as has the Wall Street Journal. (Because obviously there’s no other reason anyone would be upset about hacking a dead little girl’s phone and interfering with the police investigation into her murder…)

  • http://feministing.com/members/michaelcrichton/ Michael Crichton

    Is Wendi going to also punch a pie-throwing 9/11 family member? Would Fox News still call her a hero?

    Yes, of course they will. Haven’t you gotten the memo? Ever since 2006, Faux Noise has been trashing 9/11 family members.

    As for the rest of it, I have no problem with scumbags like Murdoch getting a pie to the face every so often. Sure, it’s technically assault, but a fairly minor one. I also have no problem with the pie-ee or anyone close to them responding with a punch. You throws your pie, you takes your chances.

  • http://feministing.com/members/bookaholic/ bookaholic

    The coverage here in Australia (70% of the press owned by Murdoch, I get most of my news from Murdoch papers) has been dominated by defensiveness on the part of the Murdoch press. One interesting thing was that in an article about Wendi and the pie this morning, they characterised Wendi as a social climber and a slut. Given the way Murdoch censors most of the news coverage in Australia, I feel hurt on her behalf that the article was allowed to be published. But there’s nothing like some slut shaming with your breakfast, no?

  • http://feministing.com/members/amale/ a male

    And I also say hurray for Murdoch’s wife.