New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was attacked with pies in the face by environmental activists during a speech about energy at Brown University yesterday.
The Providence Journal reports that Friedman's message — that responding to climate change will make America "stronger, more innovative, [and] more energy secure" — was greeted by protesters:
Not everyone agrees with Friedman's vision that innovation is the path to climate and energy salvation. Just seconds into his speech, he was interrupted by two environmental activists, who stormed the stage shortly after Friedman stepped up to the microphone, tossing two paper plates loaded with shamrock-colored whipped cream at him.
Friedman ducked, and was left with only minor streams of the sugary green goo on his black pants and turtleneck.
He stood in bewilderment and mild disgust as the young man and woman bolted from the stage and out the side door, throwing a handful of fliers into the air to relay the message they apparently were not going to deliver personally.
"Thomas Friedman deserves a pie in the face...," the flier said, "because of his sickeningly cheery applaud for free market capitalism's conquest of the planet, for telling the world that the free market and techno fixes can save us from climate change. From carbon trading to biofuels, these distractions are dangerous in and of themselves, while encouraging inaction with respect to the true problems at hand..."
After five minutes, Friedman returned to the stage undeterred, with only faint traces of the green cream on his clothing.
The Brown Daily Herald reports that the students involved have been apprehended but charges are not likely to be brought against them:
After the pie hit Friedman and splattered on his face and torso, the two jumped offstage and ran out of the southeast exit of the building, followed closely by a man trying to catch them. A police officer also ran toward the exit but stayed inside.
The thrower was eventually caught by police, who detained her in Salomon's lobby before moving her elsewhere.
"One of the offenders was apprehended, placed in the custody of the Brown Department of Public Safety and identified as a Brown student," University spokesman Michael Chapman said in a statement released Tuesday night. "The University will review this incident through its non-academic disciplinary system to determine the appropriate response."
DPS Lt. Rick Lombardi told The Herald that no party wishes to press charges. Lombardi would not confirm the student's identity.
Pictures, hopefully, to come...