An evangelical Christian activist who smashed a pie in the face of a gay CEO has appeared in court to face assault charges.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who is openly gay, has been vilified in Australia in recent weeks after becoming the unlikely figurehead of the equal marriage movement.
After declaring the company’s support for equal marriage, Mr Joyce faced a backlash encouraged by the anti-LGBT lobby. The exec was abused by government ministers and trashed in the media – and the negative coverage led one angry Christian pensioner to attack him with a lemon meringue pie.
67-year-old pie attacker Tony Overheu, who claims to be a devout Christian, appeared in court in Perth today to face charges of assault, damaging property, trespass and giving false details to police.According to WA Today, his lawyer requested a four week adjournment, which was granted.
Overheu will reappear in court on July 7 and his bail was renewed.
The former farmer, who has not yet entered a plea, had claimed in the press after the attack that he did not realise it was a crime to assault someone with a pie.
He said: “My wife is at my throat… I didn’t understand that I’d breached the state’s criminal code, so clearly I regret that.”
The retired Christian was candid about the motive of the attack being Mr Joyce’s support for same-sex marriage, which had been picked on by the media for days prior.
Overheu was banned from Qantas Airlines flights for life after the attack, while Mr Joyce said he had “every intention of pressing charges” despite the pensioner’s apparent regret.
Overheu did not speak to reporters outside the court as he entered. Mr Joyce was not present.
In a recent interview with Australia’s GQ Magazine, Mr Joyce said he would not be intimidated by anti-gay activists.
He said: “When you’ve been in this job as long as I have, you get a thick neck on things. You have to be very hard nosed in your approach and your view and not be intimidated by anybody.
“What’s important is that people understand what we’re saying — which is that parliament should just get on and do something about marriage equality, most Australians are fed up with this and just want it to happen.”
The business leader also responded to a homophobic slight from government minister Peter Dutton, who had told Mr Joyce to “stick to his knitting” instead of calling for equal marriage.
Mr Joyce said: “We’re very happy with sticking to our knitting, but our knitting involves being part of the community, and our knitting involves us being outspoken on issues like this.”