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Times columnist pied in face by activist

Male accomplice threw political pamphlets

A female audience member ran on stage last night and threw a green pie at New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who had just begun a lecture on environmentalism in Salomon 101. The woman had been sitting in the south side of the auditorium's front row when she pulled the pie out of a Brown Bookstore plastic bag that had been tucked in a red backpack and leapt out of her seat.

At the same time the woman threw the pie, a male accomplice seated a few rows back ran down the aisle and onto the stage, throwing small pamphlets explaining the actions into the crowd.

After the pie hit Friedman and splattered on his face and torso, the two jumped offstage and ran out of the southeast exit of the building, followed closely by a man trying to catch them. A police officer also ran toward the exit but stayed inside.

The thrower was eventually caught by police, who detained her in Salomon's lobby before moving her elsewhere.

"One of the offenders was apprehended, placed in the custody of the Brown Department of Public Safety and identified as a Brown student," University spokesman Michael Chapman said in a statement released Tuesday night. "The University will review this incident through its non-academic disciplinary system to determine the appropriate response."

DPS Lt. Rick Lombardi told The Herald that no party wishes to press charges. Lombardi would not confirm the student's identity.

Friedman appeared uninjured and ready to continue his lecture, titled "Hot, Flat and Crowded," but audience members encouraged him to clean himself off. He left the auditorium and returned five to 10 minutes later to deliver the lecture.

The pamphlets thrown by the male accomplice identified the pair as the "Greenwash Guerillas," who wrote that they were acting "on behalf of the earth (sic) and all true environmentalists."

One side of the pamphlet contains an excerpt from a September 2006 review of Friedman's book, "The World is Flat," written by Raymond Lotta for the journal "Revolution," which styles itself as the "Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA." The review is highly critical of Friedman, who the review claims cannot see his own errors while "seated in the business class of his analytical jetliner."

The other side contains five bullet-points explaining why "Thomas Friedman deserves a pie in the face," which include reasons like "his sickeningly cheery applaud for free market capitalism's conquest of the planet," and "for helping turn environmentalism into a fake plastic consumer product for the privileged."

The pamphlet declares "Thomas Friedman's 'Green' as fake and toxic to human and planetary health as the cool-whip (sic) covering his face."


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