The ICC World Cup 2023 final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad was interrupted briefly by a pitch invader sporting a pro-Palestine t-shirt in a security lapse. Identified as Johnson Wen, a TikToker who goes by the name ‘Pyjama Man’, the invader forced his way onto the pitch with an LGBTQIA+ flag after the 13th over of India’s innings.
Wearing a face mask bearing the colours of the Palestinian flag and a t-shirt with the slogans “Stop bombing Palestine” on the front and “Save Palestine ” on the back, Wen approached Indian batter Virat Kohli and was seen putting his arms around his shoulders. Kohli pushed the invader away gently before he was escorted out by the security personnel.
The development comes amid a war between Israel and Palestinian militant outfit Hamas since October 7. More than 11,000 people have died in Gaza in retaliatory airstrikes by Israel following a surprise attack by Hamas on October 7. Around 1,200 people have been killed in Israel.
Wen was apprehended and taken to Chand Kheda Police station in Ahmedabad.
Johnson Wen Not New To Controversies
Wen, an Australian of Chinese-Filipino origin, has been a serial pitch invader and has indulged in similar antics across several other world sporting events to make a political statement.
In August 2023, the Australian man ran into the football ground during the FIFA Women’s World Cup final, wherein Spain defeated England.
During the match, he was seen approaching England player Lauren Hemp wearing a shirt saying ‘Free Ukraine’ and ‘Stop Putler’ that had a mashup image resembling Russian President Vladimir Putin and German dictator Adolf Hitler. After the incident, he was removed by the security personnel. He was demonstrating against Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in 2022.
Johnson, who is mostly seen wearing his trademark pyjamas, gained popularity on TikTok through his pranks and performing the “floss” (an internet dancing trend) in public places, which has landed him in legal troubles several times before, as per a report in The News Minute.
In 2020, in another similar incident, he invaded the field at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in Australia during State of Origin III, an annual best-of-three rugby league series in Australia. According to The News Minute, the stunt had cost him a fine of AUS $220. He also performed a dance at the stadium, the video of which was later posted on TikTok.
Johnson also faced a fine of AUS $250 for performing a dangerous stunt that left him dangling off a footbridge in Brisbane. The TikToker then pleaded guilty to committing public nuisance and unregulated high-risk activity, as per The News Minute.