Rupert Murdoch would have been anticipating a barrage of questions, but not a shaving foam pie in the face.
The hearing into phone hacking before a British House of Commons committee had been going for two hours when a man lunged at the media tycoon, apparently shouting “greedy”.
As he was arrested and the hearing suspended, Murdoch’s son James – also appearing to reply to MPs – fumed at the lapse in security.
The alleged attacker was named on Twitter as Jonnie Marbles.
In a slow motion film of the attack, Rupert’s wife Wendi can be seen immediately leaping up and thumping the aggressor – arguably a far quicker and more effective response than that of the police.
This was the first time in his career that the News Corporation boss had been directly questioned by MPs.
The phone hacking scandal has forced Murdoch to close down a famous newspaper and abandon his bid to boost his global empire by buying out a key satellite broadcaster.
He said it was the most humble day of his life, adding that he had been appalled at the revelations.
But he did not accept personal responsibility.
“The News of the World is less than 1% of our company, I employ 53.000 people around the world, who are proud and great and ethical and distinguished people,” he told the Culture, Media and Sport committee.
Next up to give more detailed replies about the News of the World, its former editor Rebekah Brooks denied sanctioning payments to police or knowing about phone hacking.
“Of course there were mistakes made in the past but I think and I hope that you will agree since we saw the evidence at the end of December we’ve acted properly and quickly,” she said.
The once powerful media baron appeared to many as an old man with far less of an iron grip on his empire than previously thought.
Also in the spotlight are the police: two chiefs who have resigned have defended their hiring of ex tabloid journalists as consultants.
On Wednesday the Prime Minister David Cameron, under scrutiny for having done the same, will speak before parliament.