In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxMontrealTorontoVancouver

Weapons of mass desserts

Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research.
A pie projectile ready to inflict laughs
A pie projectile ready to inflict laughs

Media Analysis, →Cooperatives, →Environment, →Baby Animals, →Video, →2010 Olympics

Yesterday I watched a video where an activist from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) pied Canadian Fisheries Minister Gail Shea. While I think the harmless stunt is hilarious, tactically I think it's a waste of time and accomplishes little. I even made fun of pie throwing activists in my short film "Star Non-Violent-Civil Disobedience."

As expected, a fast acting politician wanting to get his name in the press, denounced the delicious attack as an act of terrorism. That part was predictable. Since the terror attacks of September 11th, politicians has been liberally throwing the word "terrorist" around, like pies in a Three Stooges movie. Recently, Harry Bloy, a liberal MLA from Burnaby, called anti-olympic protesters, "terrorists" without batting an eye. Again, predictable.

What surprised me was the press release put out by the BC Civil Liberties association (BCCLA) yesterday, calling the pie incident "violent". The press release states: "(the 'BCCLA'), Canada’s oldest and foremost civil liberties group, today condemned violence as a protest tactic following an incident where a PETA protester apparently threw a “tofu cream pie” hitting the federal fisheries minister squarely in the face...."

Now why would the BCCLA go out of their way to condemn this incident? After all, the pie "assault", as they put it, didn't even happen in BC. Yeah, yeah, I guess they are entitled to their opinion, and we could speculate on their motives till' the cows come home. But for the sake of argument, let's deconstruct  the most disturbing allegation by BCCLA, you know, the one about the "violence."

The first definition of violence on the Oxford Dictionary is "behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something." Ask anybody out there and they'll tell you that violent behavior is intended to physically hurt. Please, watch the video again and tell me that if the following statement is true or false: "The PETA activist violently assaulted the minister with a tofu cream pie with the intention of physically hurting her." Now I don't have to tell you how ridiculous that sounds.

Violence my friends, is what the Vancouver Police recently perpetrated on Yao Wei Wu, when they dragged him from his home and beat him badly enough to disfigure his face. If the VPD would have pied him, it would have been a different story. Violence is what happened to Robert Dziekanski when he was tasered to death by the VPD. Violence is not pieing a politician.

To their credit the BCCLA took on both cases mentioned above. The violence perpetrated is unquestionable and those who committed the acts should be brought to justice. But to define the pie incident as an "act of violence" is as troubling as Harry Bloy calling Olympic protesters "terrorists." Why? Because it sets a precedent in the public record that these types of pranks are equal to beating somebody with a bat.

Yes the prankster invaded somebody's personal space, but "violence" is a strong word which invokes images of pain and paints the "offender" in a harsh light and equates her to a "violent criminal." The BCCLA owes it to its reputation as "Canada's oldest and foremost civil liberties group" to further clarify what it deems violent and give the public a more nuanced analysis of what this prank is.

Catch the news as it breaks: follow the VMC on Twitter.
Join the Vancouver Media Co-op today. Click here to learn about the benefits of membership.


someone or something

Clubbing animals for fashion is obviously violent. The state uses violence to deter attempts to document the seal hunt, leaving little option except stunts like this to focus public attention on the issue.

Pie throwing terrorizes only the rulers. They fear ridicule because it exposes their fraudulence.


Seal clubbing is ok, but pie pushing is violent. Our dear leaders are terrorized by pies because ridicule undermines their illusionary authority. Send in the frikkin clowns already.



I don't care for PETA's stunts and I think their anti-seal hunt campaign is misguided, but this blog post raises an important debate... thanks for posting.

Reading your posts appears to bring split personalities to mind

re : Snitching on the Resistance since Comments not turned on ?

Nothing personal, as we met with Rebick in Guelph & got a little nervous of her when you read between the lines of what she actually said so we weren't surprised with what she said in TO

but also knowing the Gail Shea getting a pie placed in her face story out here as well, we thought your introductory comment, waste of time & accomplishes little clashed with the ideals suggested in the resistance story ... there are many versions of the story @

We do see you've softened your hard stance looking further @ Weapons of mass desserts



re : Who's laughing now? just like Elinor Tate @ Hamilton Spec

 She sat beside the reporter who went to Jail for protecting his source but she told us before that happened that going to court was the business of being involved with Public Issues...

The site for the Vancouver local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.