Qantas Airways' gay CEO has pie smashed in face by former farmer protesting same-sex marriage

The Christian man was said to have chosen the lemon meringue because it 'appeared to be the least likely to do any injury'

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A former sheep farmer who smashed a pie into gay Qantas Airways chief executive Alan Joyce's face said that he was protesting the executive’s advocacy of same-sex marriages and that he now regrets the stunt.

Tony Overheu, a 67-year-old Christian, reportedly approached Alan Joyce from behind during a public address in Australia this week and smashed the lemon meringue pie into the airline boss’ face before fleeing.

In a statement, Mr Overheu accused Qantas and other companies that support marriage equality of "corporate bullying aimed at social engineering". He's reportedly been charged with giving police a false name.

Mr Joyce responded by accusing Mr Overheu of “bullying” and said that he had “every intention to continue to be vocal on these social and community issues".

"It's important for our shareholders, our employees, our customers — it's called good corporate social responsibility," he said.

After the attack, Mr Overheu reportedly sent Mr Joyce an email apologising. He told Perth Radio 6PR that his family had been “outraged” by the stunt.

“I didn't understand that I'd breached the state's Criminal Code and the police are dealing with it. Clearly I regret that."

Mr Joyce, who hails from Ireland, was giving a speech to 500 people in Perth. Mr Overheu was said to have chosen the lemon meringue from a cake shop the night before because is "appeared to be the softest, least likely to do any injury".

Local media reported that Mr Joyce had confirmed the apology, but that he had added: "I'm not sure there's any regret at the issue that has occurred."

"My intention is to send a message that this type of behaviour isn't acceptable and I have every intention of pressing charges," he said.

"Nobody should be ... intimidated, nobody should be bullied, nobody should certainly have an incident like occurred yesterday to try to stop people having that freedom of speech.”

Police said an investigation was continuing.

Additional reporting by news wires