Rupert Murdoch’s 42-year-old wife Wendi Deng leapt up and threw a stinging slap at a protester who managed to smuggle a makeshift foam-pie through security and throw it in Murdoch’s face.
Deng became an instant sensation after she was filmed leaping to the defence of her husband, her feet leaving the floor as she landed the audible slap on the top of the protester’s head.
She was heard laughing in the aftermath, shouting “I got him, I got him.”
James Murdoch made a half-hearted attempt to protect his father before police dragged the man outside and cleared the room.
The hearing was suspended for 10 minutes after the attack, which came during the final round questions from Tory MP Louise Mensch. It resumed with no press or observers, with chairman John Whittingdale apologising profusely to Rupert Murdoch, whose shaving-foam smeared jacket had been discarded.
The protester was later identified as Jonathan May-Bowles, a comedian with links to the UK Uncut protest group. May-Bowles, who calls himself Johnny Marbles, told reporters as he was led away in cuffs: “As Mr Murdoch himself said, I’m afraid I cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation.”
The select committee has pledged to review its security measures in light of the incident, which it says it is treating very seriously. Members said they are concerned he was able to smuggle a can of shaving foam through the tight security at the event. UK Uncut, which organises protests against individuals and companies they believe avoid paying tax, denied it was involved.
As the committee closed, Tom Watson told Murdoch: “Your wife has a very good left hook.”