The man who made headlines yesterday after hitting Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in the face with a pie yesterday has apologised and explained he was protesting against Joyce’s “corporate bullying” on the issue of marriage equality.
In March, Joyce was one of more than 30 high profile Australian CEOs who signed a joint letter urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to legislate for same-sex marriage.
The perpetrator of the pie stunt, 67-year-old Tony Overheu, told Perth radio station 6PR in a statement: “Middle Australia completely rejects corporate bullying aimed at social engineering.
“CEO’s need to respect Australia is a democracy where backdoor attempts to subvert the clear wishes of the overwhelming majority will cost companies bottom lines.
“Alan Joyce is paid $13 million to run airlines not bulldoze Australia socially against its will.”
But Mr Overheu apologised to Mr Joyce, telling 6PR: “My family are outraged, my wife is at my throat. I didn’t understand that I’d breached the State’s criminal code… so clearly I regret that.
“Lemon meringue appeared to be the softest, least likely [pie] to do any injury… I’ve sent an email to Alan Joyce offering an unreserved apology.”
Mr Overheu said companies like Airbnb and Holden will “lose huge credibility” for supporting marriage equality campaigns, and said the bullying experienced by Coopers Brewery following their controversial marriage equality video was “totally reprehensible”.
Airbnb’s “Until We All Belong” campaign was displayed at Canberra airport to greet federal politicians returning for parliament, and Holden unveiled a rainbow ute ahead of Sydney Mardi Gras this year.
The ABC reported WA Police had charged the man with providing false details, but not with assault.
Mr Joyce said the man’s actions wouldn’t stop him expressing his views on social and corporate community issues.
“I have every intention to continue to be vocal on those social and community issues,” he told reporters.
“It’s important for our shareholders, our employees, and our customers. It’s called good corporate social responsibility.
“Qantas has always spoken up on gender issues, on LGBTI issues, on Indigenous issues and we’ll continue to do so and no attempt at bullying us into suppressing our voice will work.
“Democracy works when we respect each other’s voices, are allowed to talk, be vocal, allowed to say what we believe.
“Certainly what happened yesterday has reinvigorated me. It’s really encouraged me to be out there and to continue to be out there and express my views even more strongly.”