Hot dog-eating champ Joey Chestnut takes down protester amid competition

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was held Monday on July 4 and, as has been the case for the past several years, world champion Joey Chestnut defended his title by winning once again.

His victory did not come easily, however, as Chestnut was compelled to briefly stop his routine to fight off a protester that made his way on stage to disrupt the contest, the Washington Examiner reported.

Nearly without missing a beat, and while still chewing a mouthful of hot dog and bun, Chestnut swiftly took the protester down before returning to the matter at hand — eating the most hot dogs and buns in a 10-minute period.

The champ will not be disturbed

At one point in the middle of the contest, a suspected animal rights protester wearing a Darth Vader mask pushed his way on stage with a sign that read “Expose Smithfield’s Deathstar.” Video of the incident showed other protesters with similar signs also wearing Star Wars-related masks had gained the stage as well.

In attempting to force his way to the front to display his sign for the cameras and viewers at home, the protester shoved aside Chestnut as he was stuffing another bite in his mouth — a move the competitive eater did not appreciate.

The video of the incident showed that Chestnut, while still chewing a mouthful, quickly placed the protester into a headlock and threw him down to the ground, at which point event organizers and staff took over wrestling the protester off the stage.

Chestnut then almost immediately went right back to eating the hot dogs as if nothing had occurred and, in the end, devoured 63 dogs and buns — just 13 shy of the record of 76 that he had set last year.

The Examiner noted that this was Chestnut’s seventh victory in a row, and his fifteenth overall, at the annual hot dog eating contest.

Animal rights activists targeting Smithfield pork producers

It is not entirely clear what, exactly, the protester was attempting to draw attention to with his antics and sign, but it is suspected that it was in regard to animal rights activists facing criminal charges related to direct action taken in previous years against a massive pork farm facility in Utah operated by Smithfield and dubbed the “Deathstar” by activists.

Activists in 2017 had broken into the Utah Smithfield facility and filmed footage of the allegedly filthy condition in which the hogs were kept and, in addition, also stole two purportedly sick piglets and took them to a rescue sanctuary.

Those activists are now facing prosecution and fellow activists are hoping to draw attention to their plight — but that won’t happen if Joey Chestnut has anything to say about it, at least in between mouthfuls of hot dogs and buns.

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