Now eco mob target Charles: Just Stop Oil activists smear chocolate cake in the face of the King’s waxwork at Madame Tussauds in latest climate stunt
- Footage shows activists smearing waxwork’s face in front of shocked visitors
- The pair had bought tickets to the attraction and hid their Just Stop Oil t-shirts
- Identified as Eilidh McFadden, 20-year-old from Glasgow, and Tom Johnson, 29
Two Just Stop Oil protesters have thrown chocolate cake in the face of a waxwork of King Charles at Madame Tussauds in their latest bizarre climate stunt.
Footage shows two of the eco loons walking up to the waxwork at the famous London attraction before taking off their tops to reveal Just Stop Oil t-shirts. One of them shouts, ‘This is a time for action’ before they both smear it with cake.
As onlookers shout ‘stop’, the female protester begins a finger-pointing lecture about climate change while her male counterpart appears to stroke Charles’ shoulder. Waxworks of Camilla, William and Kate emerged unscathed.
Just Stop Oil identified the pair as Eilidh McFadden, a 20-year-old from Glasgow and Tom Johnson, 29, a painter decorator from Sunderland. The pair had bought tickets to Madame Tussauds and wore black tops to cover their t-shirts.
McFadden was among a group of 20 activists who, in May, blocked the entrance to the Nustar Clydebank oil terminal near Glasgow. They were eventually forcibly removed by police.
Today’s incident is the latest in a long list of disruptive stunts by Just Stop Oil in recent weeks. They have previously, blocked the Dartford Bridge, tipped tomato soup over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, spray-painted the iconic glass frontage of Harrods orange and glued themselves to London’s Abbey Road crossing.
Footage shows two of the eco loons walking up to the waxwork at the famous London attraction before taking off their tops to reveal Just Stop Oil t-shirts
One of the protesters shouts, ‘This is a time for action’ before they both smear the waxwork with cake
Onlookers can be heard shouting ‘stop’ during this morning’s bizarre protest in London
Just Stop Oil identified the pair as Eilidh McFadden, a 20-year-old from Glasgow and Tom Johnson, 29, a painter decorator from Sunderland
Today it emerged climate activists are at odds over what actions protesters should take to get the public’s attention with some leaders urging demonstrators to ‘upset people’ and others calling for a ‘moderate flank.’
Just Stop Oil mastermind Roger Hallam has called on his organisation to take extreme actions, arguing that ‘nothing happens’ unless you upset the public.
However, Rupert Read, former spokesman for Extinction Rebellion (XR), has urged the group to focus on attracting new members to its cause instead of flashy demonstrations.
Mr Read argues the ‘radical’ actions the groups have been taking pose ‘significant barriers’ when recruiting new activists to join the cause.
XR inspired the seemingly more radical groups, Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain. Both groups were founded and run by experienced members of XR.
Mr Hallam, a co-founder member of XR, actually left the group to pursue a more radical extreme path. He now co-ordinates behind the scenes for Just Stop Oil.
Climate activists are at odds over what actions protesters should take to get the public’s attention. Pictured: Anna Holland, 20, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, during a Just Stop Oil protest in which they threw two tins of Heinz tomato soup over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the National Gallery in central London on Oct. 14, 2022
Just Stop Oil urged protesters to take extreme actions, arguing that ‘nothing happens’ unless you upset the public. Pictured: A Just Stop Oil protester is pictured laying in a hammock over the Dartford Bridge during a demonstration on Oct. 18, 2022
‘If we’re going to win, we need a lot of people on board. I’m trying to create a moderate flank,’ Mr Read, a professor at the University of East Anglia, has argued, according to The Times.
‘What I want to see, and what I believe will occur, is a much larger mobilisation of people more moderate than Extinction Rebellion but more radical than any existing mainstream groups.’
Mr Read argued the climate change movement has to ‘be ready to grow exponentially’ which means activism groups must ‘lower barriers to entry.’
‘The reality is, a lot of people feel there are significant barriers of entry for them with radical and environmental activism,’ he argued.
‘I don’t think [the movement has] done such a good job to people with different political opinions and it’s not done a terribly good job of being inclusive to people of a different class background.’
The activist argued ‘most people need to engage in non-violent direct action’ and that having individuals take meaningful action on a smaller scale would ‘be a game changer.’
He said: ‘If we had a lot more people being determined that their employers or the institution where they spend most of their time should be serious about moving really fast, about reducing their climate and diversity impacts, that would be a game changer.’
However, Extinction Rebellion has urged members to focus on attracting new members to its cause instead of flashy demonstrations. Pictured: An XR protester scaling a Tube at Canning Town station at rush hour on Oct. 17, 2019
One XR leader argued the ‘radical’ actions the groups have been taking pose ‘significant barriers’ when recruiting new activists to join the cause. Pictured: Insulate Britain activists blocking traffic on the M25 on Sept. 29, 2021
Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed orange paint over the Aston Martin car showroom on Park Lane in London on Oct. 16, 2022 in an apparent spontaneous act of vandalism
However, Mr Hallam has taken a different approach to gather support, telling environmental enthusiasts: ‘If you don’t upset people enough, then nothing happens.’
‘If you upset people too much, like traditionally with violence, then you’re dead as well. But then there’s a sweet spot.’
He added: ‘No one knows where that sweet spot is, but as a general rule of thumb it’s a lot higher up than you think.’
Just Stop Oil is pushing activists to act boldly and encourages ‘high-level disruption and intense mobilisation.’
Tim Hewes, a retired church of England priest affiliated with the group, told members: ‘If you’re not already in custody or dead we need you.’
The group also stresses the benefits of its ‘support system’ which includes no-fee lawyers that can help anyone who gets arrested over demonstrative action.
Additionally, members have access to an emotional support hotline with ‘climate crisis-aware’ professionals and safe houses ‘where somebody will cook you dinner.’
Just Stop Oil protesters Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, threw two tins of Heinz tomato soup over an iconic Van Gogh painting at the National Gallery on Oct. 14, 2022. After their protest, the pair of demonstrators glued themselves to the floor and needed to be unglued by specialist police officers
Police say the £76 million piece of art was ‘unharmed’ during the climate demonstration
Eco-zealots from the campaign group launched a humiliating attack against the police that same day, spraying orange paint over the New Scotland Yard HQ’s sign in Westminster, London on Oct. 14, 2022 – prompting officers to make 24 arrests
Lora Johnson, 38, was charged in the Scotland Yard incident and pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal damage. She went viral when she gave an interview about climate change while being carried off the ground by police
Just last week, two Just Stop Oil protesters threw soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the National Gallery in central London.
Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle, and Phoebe Plummer, 21, from Lambeth, south-west London, threw two tins of Heinz tomato soup over the iconic £76 million painting before gluing themselves to a wall inside the Gallery.
Both have since pleaded not guilty to criminal damage to the frame of Van Gogh’s painting in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Other rebellious eco-zealots from the campaign group launched a humiliating attack against the police that same day, spraying orange paint over the New Scotland Yard HQ’s sign in Westminster, London – prompting officers to make 24 arrests.
Lora Johnson, 38, from Southwold, Suffolk, was charged in the incident and pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal damage.
Also last week, two Just Stop Oil protestors were arrested after they suspended themselves from the Dartford Bridge.
Drivers were unable to use the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links Kent and Essex, after it was blocked when the demonstrators mounted its cables with climbing equipment.
Protesters Morgan Trowland, 39, and Marcus Decker, 33, climbed so high up the bridge that police negotiators urging them to descend were unable to communicate with them. The pair are then were said to have unfurled a Just Stop Oil banner and remained there for almost 36 hours.
Trowland and Decker will face a jury trial after both indicated not guilty pleas at Southend Magistrates’ Court to committing public nuisance over the alleged stunt.
Marcus Decker (left) and Morgan Trowland (right) have been charged with conspiracy to commit a public nuisance after allegedly climbing up the Dartford Bridge on Oct. 29, 2022
The pair were apparently taken down from the structure and arrested on Oct. 19, 2022 after a ‘super cherry picker’ arrived at the scene
The two protestors allegedly suspended themselves in hammocks and raised a flag across the bridge on Oct. 29, 2022
Mark Ovland, 38, and his fellow protester James Mee, 37, unfurled a banner saying ‘business as usual = death’ as angry passengers bombarded them with coins, coffee and sandwiches in east London on Oct. 17, 2019
The prosecutor said the pair were only on top of the train for 20 minutes but 48,000 people had their morning journeys affected
Although Just Stop Oil protests have dominated headlines in recent weeks, the organisation is not the only climate change group to make in extreme demonstrations.
XR activists enraged commuters by scaling a Tube at Canning Town station at rush hour before being dragged off and roughed up by other travellers.
Mark Ovland, 38, and his fellow protester James Mee, 37, unfurled a banner saying ‘business as usual = death’ as angry passengers bombarded them with coins, coffee and sandwiches in east London on October 17, 2019, during a two-week protest.
Mee was eventually pulled onto the platform at Canning Tube station and kicked by commuters during the morning rush-hour.
The pair were only on top of the train for 20 minutes but 48,000 people had their morning journeys affected, the prosecutor said during their tribunal earlier this year.
Ovland and Mee admitted ‘we got it wrong’ when they appeared in front of a judge in March, noting how they ‘had the best of intentions’ but poor execution.
Both men were given 12-month community orders but spared jail.
Judge Silas Reid, when issuing their sentence, told the pair: ‘Each of you was part of a team under the wider Extinction Rebellion umbrella. This was a protest about a hugely important area.
‘It is, though, irrelevant whether your argument is on the right side entirely or not. Of course, climate change is a vitally important matter for everyone to consider for the future. What you did though is you went too far.’
Activists from the Insulate Britain climate change protest group blocked the road near to junction 3 of the M25 motorway near Swanley on Sept. 29, 2021
A police officer is seen dragging one of the Insulate Britain protesters off the road at junction 3 of the M25 at Swanley on Sept. 29, 2021. The demonstration cost the economy about £4,603, with an estimated 18,000 vehicles affected
The group ran into the middle of the road and spread out across two areas of the junction, bringing traffic to a standstill
Similarly, Insulate Britain protesters blocked traffic on the M25, including an ambulance carrying an ‘urgent patient’, by sitting across Junction 3, a busy interchange on the motorway at Swanley, Kent, on September 29, 2021.
The group ran into the middle of the road and spread out across two areas of the junction, bringing traffic to a standstill.
Some demonstrators glued themselves to the tarmac, one stuck himself to a police car and another, Mary Adams, refused to move out of the way of an ambulance that was transporting a patient to hospital.
The cost to the economy caused by the disruption was about £4,603, with an estimated 18,000 vehicles affected across the wider area, according to evidence from National Highways.
In total, nine of the activists admitted charges in relation to the protest either by post or in person at Crawley Magistrates’ Court earlier this year.
Ian Bates, 63, and Karen Matthews, 60, as well as Mary Adams, 68, Margurite Doubleday, 67, Bethany Mogie, 39, Xavier Gonzalez-Trimmer, 21, and Lucy Crawford, 52, each pleaded guilty to wilful obstruction of free passage of the highway.
Biff Whipster, 54, admitted criminal damage by leaving a ‘hard, crusty layer of glue’ on the window of a police vehicle during the demonstration.
Why is the heiress to Getty oil billions bankrolling eco-maniacs hell-bent on disruption? Fossil fuel tycoon’s granddaughter is prominent backer of green zealots causing chaos on roads and defacing priceless artwork
Beth Hale for the Daily Mail
They have blocked the Dartford Bridge, tipped tomato soup over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, spray-painted the iconic glass frontage of Harrods orange and glued themselves to London’s Abbey Road crossing.
And that’s just in the past week.
Now Just Stop Oil protesters have also been accused of ‘having blood on their hands’ after traffic carnage, caused after activists suspended themselves from the notoriously busy Thames crossing, indirectly led to the deaths of two women on the nearby choked M20.
The women, one of whom was named as Lisa Webber, a mother of four in her 50s, had stopped in heavy rain on the hard-shoulder of the motorway, when they were hit by a passing car.
A shocked witness said: ‘The eco-warriors may have thought it was an innocent protest, but they’ve got blood on their hands.’
Aileen threw herself into HIV awareness campaigning (she’s still an ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation), which brought her close to Princess Diana
While no one is suggesting the protesters planned such a terrible outcome, there are, it would seem, no lengths to which members of Just Stop Oil will not go in pursuit of their aim.
How ironic, then, to discover that one of the most prominent backers of this rag-tag assortment of eco-zealots who think gluing themselves to walls aids their anti-fossil fuel cause, is a woman whose funding clout possibly runs deeper than, well, an oil well.
Step forward Aileen Getty, an heiress to the Getty family fortune, which, of course, grew from the very industry activists are so keen to bring to its knees.
Aileen, 65, is the granddaughter of J. Paul Getty, the late tycoon who built an empire out of oil, one that made him the richest man in the world for a time.
The family left the oil industry in the early 2000s, but it certainly helped to grow a family fortune reckoned to be worth somewhere in the region of £4.8 billion.
Aileen, who has a collection of high-end properties in the U.S., is a founding member of the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), a U.S.-based non-profit organisation that is funding direct action, like that of Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion, across the globe.
According to the CEF’s own Twitter feed, she has donated ‘over a million dollars to brave climate activists’, money that in some cases pays such protesters a nominal salary. A Just Stop Oil spokesman confirmed this week that supporters ‘do receive a small income’.
And she’s doing this, she told the Mail, because society was ‘out of time’.
‘My hope is that we, as a society, can accept these actions from brave climate activists for what they are — an alarm that jolts us out of the status quo and focuses us on the real emergency at hand: we are literally killing life on Earth,’ she said.
Her first husband was Christopher Wilding, son of the late Elizabeth Taylor (left)
Quite how the notoriously frugal Getty family patriarch, who died in 1976, aged 83, would feel about his once favourite granddaughter’s actions is open to debate.
Aileen, however, has spent most of her life treading an unconventional path.
Now something of an ageing hippy chick — albeit one who has chefs to prepare her vegan cuisine and who sold one of her homes to pop star Katy Perry — her life was once extraordinarily glamorous; Dudley Moore played the piano at her engagement party, and her first husband was Christopher Wilding, son of the late Elizabeth Taylor — more of which later.
Despite the marriage, a deeply troubled Aileen was on a path to self-destruction.
A cocaine addict (an interviewer once noted her daily cocaine habit was ‘enough to put an elephant into space’), she contracted HIV as the result of an extra-marital affair. It was 1985, a time when there was still terrible public stigma to the disease.
By 1990 Aileen’s infection would escalate to Aids. She suffered heart problems, lung disease, collapsed and nearly died, but somehow clung on, saved by the discovery of effective HIV medication.
The year 1996 was a turning point. She got clean, and was famously photographed with Princess Diana visiting a drop-in centre for people with Aids in London’s West End.
Facing death and her own demons were definite motivating factors in her epiphany. As was money. ‘Wealth has destroyed us,’ she said in an interview in June 1996.
The ‘us’ she was referring to was, of course, her family. For Aileen’s extraordinary story is just one chapter in a family history often dubbed the ‘Curse of the Gettys’ — a dynastic saga punctuated by kidnapping, drugs, rivalry and death.
Pictured: Elton John speaks on stage with Aileen at the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 25th Year
J. Paul Getty was shown his first oil well aged 11. After graduating from Oxford University, he’d made his first million by the age of 23. He struck black gold after securing a 60-year concession on a stretch of land between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in 1949. What he lacked as a husband — he married and divorced five times — Getty made up for in his money-making ability.
By 1966 he was named the richest private citizen in the world, with an estimated billion-dollar fortune.
He bought Rembrandts and Renoirs and moved to England to Sutton Place, a 16th-century estate near Guildford, Surrey, where, a notorious skinflint, he installed a payphone for guests.
Aileen spent long periods there as a youngster. ‘I was my grandfather’s favourite, I think, because I wasn’t afraid of him,’ she once said.
His estate was a sanctuary for her as a teenager. Her own father, John Paul Jr, was a jet-setting heroin addict in the 1960s and 1970s.
By the mid-1960s, his marriage to Aileen’s mother, Gail Harris, had crumbled and he married Dutch actress Talitha Pol, who would die from a drug overdose in 1971.
Darker times still were yet to come. Aileen was 13 and living in Rome with her mother, when her elder brother, John Paul III, 16, was kidnapped by Italian terrorists. A bitter five-month negotiation ensued.
Aileen’s dad had never got on with his own father, who’d sacked him from Getty Oil and cut him out of his will. When asked to pay the ransom demand — initially around £15 million — Getty refused, declaring: ‘I have 13 other grandchildren, if I pay one penny now, then I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.’
It was only when John Paul III’s severed ear arrived in the post, along with a lock of his hair, that he agreed to pay £1.9 million (the maximum that was tax deductible) towards a reduced ransom for his grandson.
Money-minded even in the midst of this crisis, he loaned the difference, about £885,000, to his son on the condition he pay it back with 4 per cent interest. Aileen’s brother was then freed.
Their father eventually left his wild ways behind and became a virtual recluse. The impact of the kidnap on his son, however, was cataclysmic. He adopted a hippy lifestyle, married at the age of 18 (for which he was disinherited), then tumbled into a trail of self-destruction that culminated in a drug overdose in 1981, which left him paralysed and virtually blind until his death at the age of 54 in 2011.
A teenage Aileen moved to Los Angeles, where she fell into a glossy world of parties — and drugs — and fell in love with Christopher Wilding. Desperate to marry, they had to wait until she was 22 to avoid disinheritance under Getty trust rules.
They have blocked the Dartford Bridge, tipped tomato soup over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, spray-painted the iconic glass frontage of Harrods orange and glued themselves to London’s Abbey Road crossing
The marriage was haunted by the heartbreak of multiple miscarriages before the couple adopted Caleb, now 39. Aileen then fell pregnant with Andrew, now 37.
But four years into the union the wheels had already started to come off. In 1985, Aileen had a fling with a man only ever named as ‘Gary’ who infected her with HIV.
That led to the end of her marriage, a descent into drug addiction and the temporary loss of custody of her beloved boys.
Her family’s reaction to the disease didn’t help — she said they were in denial. Her biggest source of support was her former mother-in-law Elizabeth Taylor, herself an early and committed supporter of research on HIV/Aids.
Such was Aileen’s devotion to Liz she always referred to her as ‘Mom’, while her own mother she called ‘Gail’.
‘Elizabeth is the greatest. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have lasted this long,’ she said in an interview in 1996.
It was reciprocal. ‘I love her like she’s one of my own children,’ the late star declared.
Aileen threw herself into HIV awareness campaigning (she’s still an ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation), which brought her close to Princess Diana. ‘Aids has given me a purpose, in many senses,’ Aileen once said. ‘I was numb before; I didn’t know what to do with my life.’
In 2012, she founded the Aileen Getty Foundation, supporting a variety of causes close to her heart. She had a short-lived second marriage to American Scott Padilla, whom she met in rehab in 1990; and intriguingly spoke in 1997 of a third marriage to an unnamed Englishman. It clearly didn’t last, because in 2004 she married Bartolomeo Ruspoli.
In recent years she has kept a low profile. Her last significant interview appears to have been in 2015 for a U.S. magazine, in which she said: ‘The early years were very hard years and I don’t think I’m over that. I don’t talk about it much, but it lives in a very deep place in me that’s . . . still painful.’
She said her health was good, as was her relationship with her two sons.
Aileen, 65, is the granddaughter of J. Paul Getty (pictured), the late tycoon who built an empire out of oil, one that made him the richest man in the world for a time
As youngsters, they had been given instructions on the emergency number to call if their mother collapsed and were told to wear rubber gloves to protect themselves if she bled. ‘I’m a very lucky parent,’ she said. ‘They’re both divine souls and we’re all very close.’
Philanthropy and activism aside, she does appear to have inherited some of the business acumen of her forbears. Founder of LA restaurant company Sprout, she’s a serial buyer and seller of high-end homes, most recently a £19 million New York townhouse.
On the subject of her activism, she has been pointed but brief.
But she responded by email to the Mail last week, insisting: ‘I support climate activism through the Climate Emergency Fund because we are out of time for anything other than rapid, comprehensive climate action.
‘We can have a fossil fuel-powered economy, or we can have thriving life on planet Earth. We can’t have both.’
She said she funded the CEF, which in turn made grants to climate activists ‘engaged in non-violent legal civil disobedience’, including Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain.
‘I do not fund these groups or their actions directly, though I am in full support of Just Stop Oil’s critical demand of no new oil and gas leases.’
As for the disruptive actions of those groups she said: ‘If you accept that we are facing a widespread climate disaster, then civil disobedience does not seem so crazy and extreme.
‘Any discomfort caused by the protests we are seeing — which have been peaceful and non- violent — pales in comparison with what awaits us all if we fail to act on climate.’
Additional reporting Barbara McMahon.
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