Alan Joyce
Qantas boss Alan Joyce supported vaccine mandates for staff and passengers during the pandemic. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

Reheated pie attack video takes misguided jab at Qantas boss

William Ton February 10, 2023

Qantas boss Alan Joyce had a pie smeared in his face because of his support of COVID vaccine mandates.


iFalse. The 2017 incident was in protest at Mr Joyce's support of marriage equality in Australia.

Social media users say Qantas boss Alan Joyce got “a taste of what he deserved” for supporting vaccine mandates after video resurfaced of him getting a pie smeared in his face.

However, the lemon meringue ambush occurred in 2017, more than two years before the COVID-19 pandemic began and had nothing to do with vaccines.

The footage was shared on Facebook on February 6, 2023, by Australian freedom group Stop the Rot Sack the Lot. The same mislabelled video from a blog post by US medical researcher James Cintolo is being shared globally, as seen here, here and here.

The posts all link the incident to the airline CEO’s backing of vaccine mandates during the pandemic.

Before showing the video, one of Stop the Rot Sack the Lot’s presenters says: “Remember how Joyce … insisted on everyone at Qantas being vaccinated? Check this out,” (video mark 20min 11sec).


The pie was brandished by a man upset with Mr Joyce’s support for marriage equality in Australia.

Australia held a national postal vote in 2017 to ask whether people supported legalising same-sex marriage – with a majority voting yes.

Mr Joyce was a vocal proponent of marriage equality, personally donating $1 million to the yes campaign, while Qantas was involved in high-profile campaigns for the change.

News video of the attack shows Mr Joyce speaking at a leadership event in Perth on May 9, 2017, before a man approaches and smears the pie in his face.

Tony Overheu, who carried out the pie stunt, told reporters a day after the incident he was protesting against Qantas’s public stance in supporting marriage equality.

He was later fined $3600 after pleading guilty to charges of assault and trespass.

Alan Joyce
 Alan Joyce, 

Since COVID vaccines became available, Australian states and territories have made the jab compulsory for certain industries and workers. These rules have been updated by the different jurisdictions over time.

Mr Joyce was an early supporter of vaccine mandates. In August 2021, the airline released a policy mandating all its workers to have at least two COVID vaccinations by November.

Mr Joyce confirmed to reporters at the time that employees who refused the vaccination without an exemption would be fired, saying they were deciding that “aviation isn’t the area for them”.

A small number of Qantas employees took the airline to court over the mandates but lost their case.Qantas has since scrapped the requirement for travellers to be vaccinated before boarding its flights.

AAP FactCheck has debunked several claims from Stop the Rot Sack the Lot, as seen here, here, here and here.

The VerdictThe claim Qantas boss Alan Joyce had a pie smashed in his face over his support of vaccine mandates is false.

The incident is from May 2017, more than two years before the pandemic, and was carried out by a man disgruntled over the airline’s public support for marriage equality.

False ÔÇô The claim is inaccurate.

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