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One of Friedman pie throwers identified

Little '08.5 in YouTube video of food attack

Thursday, April 24, 2008

One of the two audience members who threw pie dishes filled with green whipped cream at New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman last night has been identified as Margaree Little ‘08.5, she confirmed yesterday.

Little and a male accomplice leapt from their seats seconds into Friedman’s Earth Day lecture in Salomon 101, stunning the crowd and Friedman, who was left with green paste on his face and clothing. Friedman blocked one dish with his hand and dodged the other, but was smeared with the contents of each.

In an interview with The Herald, Little confirmed that she had thrown a pie at Friedman. Several students who attended the lecture also independently identified Little as one of the pie-throwers.

Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Mark Porter said he “could not confirm or deny” Little’s involvement, but said DPS has identified one of the attackers as a student. Porter added that the captured student’s case has been turned over to the Office of Student Life, and DPS Lt. Rick Lombardi said no party wishes to press charges.

Margaret Klawunn, associate vice president of campus life and dean for student life, also would not confirm Little’s involvement.

“Protests are encouraged, but they cannot disrupt the event or interfere with another person’s ability to participate in an activity,” she added.

“They certainly must not cause any harm or damage or injury to someone.”

Little and her male accomplice dashed out of Salomon after throwing the two pies. As the pair left the building through its southeast exit, event organizer and Assistant Professor of Biology Stephen Porder jumped out of his front-row seat and chased them.

He said he followed the two down the large staircase on the southern face of the building. They split up at the bottom of the stairs when the male turned south and Little continued east across Lincoln Field. Porder apprehended Little shortly after the split.

“She didn’t get very far,” he said. “I told her she was caught, I held her hands behind her back, made a citizen’s arrest.”

Porder then led Little toward the front of Salomon, where DPS officers took her into custody.

The Herald has not confirmed the identity of the male accomplice, but did receive a phone call and e-mail from the “Greenwash Guerillas,” the group named on pamphlets thrown into the crowd seconds after the pie-throwing.

The caller identified himself as the male accomplice and referred to himself only as “Colonel Custard, or the corporate criminal creamer.”

He volunteered Little’s name and provided details of Porder’s pursuit that matched Porder’s own description, which had not been released to the public.

The caller challenged Friedman to a “debate duel,” but added that the motivation for the protest was not specific to Friedman.

“It’s not just Thomas Friedman. It’s what he stands for and what he promotes,” the person said. “It’s a pie in the face of corporate environmentalism and capitalism.”

A radical environmentalist, the caller said he and Little targeted Friedman – an environmentalist himself – because of what he calls a wrongheaded approach to climate change.

“The climate deniers are easy to take down because they’ve been proven wrong,” he said. “If we’re actually going to do anything about the problem, we need to look at the false solutions.”

“Things like biofuels are just as harmful as climate change itself,” he added.

A 1:39-minute YouTube video posted by “greenwashguerillas” captured the incident from Salomon’s mezzanine and shows the male pie thrower seated in the front row of the auditorium, which was supposed to be reserved for event officials.

Little was seated in the press row to the right, off-screen.

The caller said nobody questioned him when he sat down in the reserved row.

“I walked in there wearing the college costume of a dressed-up shirt, dressed-up shoes and a Brown Bears hat,” he said. “I could do anything I wanted to.”

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