Arts & Culture News

Twitter Got Wildly Excited About Joey Chestnut’s Takedown of a Protestor

Kena Betancur/Getty
Competitive eater Joey Chestnut didn't miss a beat and kept eating a hotdog while confronted by a protestor.
There perhaps is no competition more American than Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, which happens every July 4. What can be better than watching grown men and women fill their faces with processed meat and bread, all while striking fear in the hearts of toilets everywhere? During this year's event, roughly 35,000 fans gathered around Nathan’s famous original restaurant location on Coney Island to watch.

The event even garnered attention in the sports gambling world. In case you didn’t know, Joey Chestnut is a bit of a legend at this contest. He’s a 15-time champion and holds the world record for 76 hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes. Texas A&M Barstool sums up his dominance pretty well.
This year's contest had an even more American element, one that’s been around long before hot dogs or fireworks or any July 4 festivities: protesting. During the competition, a protester (one of three) wearing a Darth Vader mask rushed the stage, bumped Chestnut out of his position and then held up a sign saying “Expose Smithfield Deathstar.” This was in reference to Nathan’s pork provider, Smithfield Foods, which has been called out for animal cruelty, pollution and unfair treatment of employees.

Chestnut quickly put the protester in a headlock and threw him to the ground with one arm, while holding a hot dog with the other, and also, of course, eating one.

Twitter went ape shit.

"Joey Chestnut: 63 dogs consumed, 1 neck snapped," wrote one user. "Joey Chesnut [sic] defending his crown on 4th of July while on crutches while beating up a protester mid competition will go down as one of the most athletic, most patriotic , most heroic performances in the history of not only only this country, but the world," wrote @stoolpresidente.
But not everyone was on Chestnut's side. Many were praising the protesters.
One user wrote: "Excellent work activists! Smithfield "Foods" is an inherently violent corporation towards animals, workers, and the environment!" The stunt did raise awareness for the protester's cause. Many graphic videos from the company's farm also began surfacing on Twitter. Others, like Jacob Alpharad, instead summed up the national lack of celebratory spirit this year.