The Murdochs’ appearance before MPs for a grilling about the phone-hacking scandal was brought to a dramatic halt after an activist attempted to hit Rupert Murdoch in the face with a paper plate covered in shaving foam.
Murdoch’s wife Wendi Deng, who was sitting behind her husband in the culture, media and sport committee hearing, leapt up to defend her husband and appeared to hit out at the attacker as security guards and police rushed across the room to apprehend him.
The attack happened just before 5pm on Tuesday and the News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) chairman and chief executive was back answering MPs questions within 20 minutes, having removed his foam-spattered suit jacket.
The man, who was sitting four rows back in the committee meeting room at Portcullis House near the Houses of Parliament, apparently identified himself on Twitter shortly before the attack as a standup comic and UK Uncut activist called Jonnie Marbles.
Marbles appears to have tweeted moments before he invaded today’s hearing. “It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat,” he wrote on the social media network.
Moments after the committee chairman, John Whittingdale MP, suspended the meeting, a man wearing a checked shirt was seen outside the meeting room at the House of Commons in handcuffs.
Cries of “no, no” could be heard as the man ran towards Rupert Murdoch, who was sitting in front of MPs on the committee alongside his son James.
“He was sitting four rows back,” said Guardian journalist Jane Martinson, who was among the reporters in the room when the attack took place. “He walked calmly to the front and smacked it in Rupert’s face.”
Marbles had earlier tweeted: “I’m actually in this committee and can confirm: Murdoch is Mr Burns.”
He added: “Rupert Murdoch appears to be going senile.” He also tweeted: “It might be quicker if Baby Murdoch simply listed all of the things that he does know.
“One gets the sense that they haven’t really done the required reading ahead of their presentation. Think they may fail this module.”
Video of the attack is embedded below, via Reuters:
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.