Qantas Airways Chief Executive Alan Joyce was pie-faced Tuesday during a business breakfast in Perth, Australia. He was addressing about 500 people at a Business Leadership Matters event at a hotel at the time of the incident, reports said.

The man who smeared Joyce's face with a lemon meringue pie, walked onto the stage, rubbed the pie on Joyce's face and calmly walked away, 7 News television showed. 

Joyce maintained his calm after the incident and joked about it, saying: "Now, if there are any more pies can you get it over with now?"  He also said: "My issue is I need a good dry cleaner before I leave Perth, so if you have one, please recommend it to me."

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The pie-in-the-face has long been considered a slapstick comedy favorite and has also developed into a form of political protest. 

Pie-in-the-face started with comedy movies where, if a pie appeared on screen in a movie or TV show, it meant that it would be smashed into someone's face. As playwright Anton Chekhov once said that if in theater, a gun appeared in the first act, it would be shot at somebody till the second or the third scene, similarly, comedy fans learnt the same about the appearance of pie in the first scene of a movie. 

The first known pie fight appeared in 1909's "Mr. Flip," in which an obnoxious general store manager gets punished by being smeared with pie on his face in a scene. The pioneering movie comedian Ben Turpin, who acted in silent movies, is credited with starting the pie-in-the-face tradition in movie, according to the American Pie Party.

Then, sometime around 1913, legendary silent movie comedy actress, Mabel Normand, working under contract for Mack Sennett, enacted a scene where she gets smeared with pie by another popular silent movie actor Roscoe Conkling "Fatty" Arbuckle. 

The most memorable scene of a pie fight in the history of Hollywood movies was the one in the 1927 Laurel and Hardy silent film “The Battle of the Century”. It is reportedly the biggest pie fight staged in a motion picture. About 4,000 pies were used in the pie throwing scene — the entire day's output of the The Los Angeles Pie Company was used. However, much of the masterpiece could not be retained as negatives were kept in a unsuitable position due to which much of the film is "lost."

Gradually, pie-fight became a staple in silent movies. By the time sound films came along in the 1930s, the pie fight was fully canonized—it was almost a requirement that comedy groups like the Three Stooges or the Little Rascals make at least one pie-oriented film. The Three Stooges made two films — "In the Sweet Pie and Pie" (1941) and "Pies and Guys" (1958).

Even till the 1960s and 70s, filmmakers continued including pie fights in their movies.