A Cultural History of Pie-ing, From 'Mr. Flip' to Rupert Murdoch

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A look at how the pie-in-the-face has evolved from comedic device to political act

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Twitter/Dan Hayes


Rupert Murdoch added his name to a long, illustrious list today: the list of People Who Have Been Pied. As he testified before Britain's Parliament about the News Corp phone-hacking scandal, Murdoch got a plate full of cream to the face, courtesy of self-proclaimed comedian and activist Jonnie Marbles. It's fitting that Marbles describes himself this way, as pie-ing has roots in both comedy and political protest: The Three Stooges tossed pies around to get laughs, while rabble-rousers have pie-ed everyone from Bill Gates to Thomas Friedman to make statements against capitalism and conservative values.

Here's a look at how pie-ing has evolved over the last century, from silent-film fixture to political protest:

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Eleanor Barkhorn & Spencer Kornhaber

Eleanor Barkhorn and Spencer Kornhaber are senior associate editors at The Atlantic.

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