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• The pie-in-the-face incident happened in 2017, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chief executive of an Australian airline really did take a pie to the face during a public appearance, but not because of his company's COVID-19 policies, as a social media post claims.
"Airline CEO gets pied for forcing vaccinations," says the text overlay on a TikTok video. The footage shows Alan Joyce of Qantas Group speaking behind a podium when a man walks onto the stage, smashes a pie in Joyce’s face without speaking a word, then exits the stage.
"I don’t know what that was about," Joyce said just afterward.
The TikTok video was shared on Facebook on Feb. 8 and was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The footage is real but not recent — the incident happened in 2017, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joyce was speaking at a business breakfast at a hotel in Perth, in Western Australia, when Tony Overheu pied him in the face to protest Joyce’s advocacy for same-sex marriage, NBC News reported at the time.
Qantas announced in August 2021 that it would require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Some Qantas employees are suing in an effort to stop the mandate, but so far their legal battle has been unsuccessful.
We rate the claim that Joyce was pied in the face for forcing COVID-19 vaccinations False.
Facebook post, Feb. 8, 2022
Facebook video, May 9, 2017
Financial Review, "Setback for Qantas staff in court case over ‘unproven’ jab," Jan. 24, 2022
NBC News, "Qantas CEO Gets Pie in Face From Gay Marriage Opponent," May 11, 2017
Qantas, QANTAS GROUP TO REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO BE VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19," Aug. 18, 2021
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