Michael O'Leary pie protest - 'The only one bolstered is him'

The Ryanair boss was hit in face with a pie by environmental activists during a press conference on Thursday
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.46 8 Sep 2023

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Michael O'Leary pie protest -...

Michael O'Leary pie protest - 'The only one bolstered is him'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.46 8 Sep 2023

Share this article

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary walked away as the winner after being pied in the face in Brussels, one caller has said.

He was hit in face with a pie by environmental activists during a press conference near the European Commission on Thursday.

The activists were heard shouting "stop the pollution" before throwing the cake at Mr O'Leary.


He then carried out with a press conference about a petition he was presenting to the European Commission President  Ursula von der Leyen.

The airline took the opportunity to advertise its prices, saying on Twitter: "Instead of buying cream pies, could have bought a flight from Belgium for the same price."

The stunt came as Ryanair announced seven new routes from Brussels for its winter schedule, leading some people to question the timing.

Lunchtime Live caller Art said he thinks such protests can be justified "given the amount of damage that Ryanair is causing".

"My only regret is that I didn't get the names of the two people who caked him, I'd like to send them a personal compliment," he said.

"People seem to think flying with Ryanair is everybody's right; the reason people can fly so cheap with Ryanair is because we don't pay tax on airline fuel.

"Everytime we step on a plane and take a flight, we are contributing to the problems that are causing the fires this week in Greece, the floods in Hong Kong and causing famines in Africa that are killing people."

'It's not his fault'

Caller Shane said he believes changes need to be made, but pieing a private citizen is wrong.

"It's not Ryanair - if it's not British Airways, if it's not Aer Lingus, if it's not EasyJet - it's an entire collective," he said.

"You could have a gripe with [Michael O'Leary]... but in relation to this, in the eyes of the law he's not doing anything wrong.

"Until legislation changes around it then it's not his fault.

"It's indirectly his fault because he's in the business of something that's causing massive carbon pollution.

"Until the powers that be decide that we're going to have to change the way we live or travel, then all he's doing is, 'What do you expect me to do?'"

Shane said he would disagree with "pieing a guy in the face".

"[It's] funny and it's hilarious, but I would also believe it could potentially lead to escalation."

Shane suggested such protests actually help Michael O'Leary.

"If you're trying to get a point across, aim your dissent at the people that actually can influence change, not a private citizen," he said.

"All this has done is bolstered him."

'It's up to individuals themselves'

Erin said she believes the perpetrators should be charged with assault.

"To pie someone like that is disgraceful," she said.

"It's an assault, and whoever did it should be charged accordingly.

"He's the chairman of the company and he's running a business.

"All these people that are objecting to flying here and there; nobody is twisting their arm to fly.

"It's the individuals choice to fly.

"Have they ever looked at some of the food in the supermarket?

"You go and buy some of the fruit that comes from Portugal - how do they think it comes from Portugal?

"I know there's climate change, and it's up to the individuals to do things themselves, not to strike someone else with a pie.

"That's ridiculous," she added.

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