The CEO of the Irish airline Ryanair suffered the misfortune of being pied in the face by eco-activists on Thursday as he delivered a petition to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.
Michael O’Leary was accosted by two female protesters as he stood next to a cardboard cutout of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a press conference outside the Berlaymont building in the de facto EU capital.
One could be heard shouting “Welcome to Belgium” before proceeding to hit the Irish businessman in the face with two cream pies.
The other called on O’Leary to “stop the pollution of the fucking planes.”
The outspoken Ryanair chief executive had been hand-delivering a petition with 1.5 million signatures demanding the Commission keep “EU skies open” and stop preventing airlines from flying over countries that are experiencing air traffic control strikes.
The airline believes the EU-imposed rule has led to hundreds of flight cancelations and delays this year, and considers it to be burdensome red tape for flights that are not intending to land in the affected region.
Following the pie incident, O’Leary composed himself and spoke with the Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure: “I have never had such a warm welcome. Unfortunately, it was environmentalists, and the cream was artificial. I invite passengers to come to Ireland where the cream is better!”
The Ryanair social media account on X, known for its light-hearted content, posted a photo of the company’s boss being hit by the pies with the caption: “Shame it was soy-based cream, definitely not as tasty as the real stuff.”
It further informed the activists they could have bought a flight from Belgium for the same price as the pie.