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Smithfield Deathstar meaning explained as video of Joey Chestnut choke holding a protestor drives internet wild

Joey Chestnut attacks protestor amid Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (Image via Getty Images)
Joey Chestnut attacks protestor amid Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (Image via Getty Images)
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Karishma Rao

On Monday, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, held at Coney Island, New York City every year, was disrupted by protestors, leading to Joey Chestnut pinning one of them to the ground. Three animal rights activists took to the stage as the contestants participated in the event. According to TMZ, the three disruptors are now placed in custody.

This year, protesters Scott Gilbertson, Robert Yamada, and Josh Marxen stormed the stage and displayed "EXPOSE SMITHFIELD'S DEATHSTAR" signs. According to Direct Action Everywhere, the "death star" sign in the protestor's poster compared Star Wars' villainous mega weapon to the largest pig farm in the nation. This farm is known to supply hot dogs to Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

As the protestors called out the company and the contest with their signs, including the "death star," many also noticed that one of the protestors was wearing a Darth Vader mask. The contest, which requires contestants to eat dozens of hot dogs within 10 minutes, has been mired with controversy in relation to an exploitative pig farm.

There’s only one reason this day matters and that’s because we get to see the greatest athlete of all time @joeyjaws #NathansHotDogEatingContest https://t.co/LMc7OnnN74

The animal rights activists were protesting the treatment of pigs in the United State's largest pig farm factory. According to Sporting News, the animal rights activists were most likely referring to Smithfield Foods, which produces pork. The company has been surrounded by controversy in the past.

Investigators were sent to the farm which provides pigs to the factory. They found sick, dead, and diseased piglets lying in their mother's feces. They also found adult injured pigs.

ARRESTED: Activists who disrupted #NathansHotDogEatingContest have been taken into police custody. Their protest was against Nathan’s pork supplier, Smithfield Foods, a company exposed for animal cruelty, worker abuse, & pollution. Updates will be posted as the story develops. https://t.co/hfhk6cq9Gh

PETA has called out Smithfield Foods for animal cruelty. According to VOX, the food processing company issued a statement claiming that they would make their meat more humane after being exposed for using gestation crates on mother pigs.


Joey Chestnut managed to win Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest amid protests

As a protestor rushed to the stage in the middle of the competition, Joey Chestnut took matters into his own hands and grabbed the person in a chokehold before throwing him to the ground.

Security eventually got the protestor off the stage as Chestnut and other competitors continued to participate in the hot dog eating competition.

Chestnut just obliterated him🤣🤣 https://t.co/dry7Oy8KZK

Although Joey Chestnut dealt with disturbances in the middle of the competition, he still managed to win the competition by eating 15.5 more hot dogs and buns than runner-up Geoffrey Esper. He took home another title by eating 63 hot dogs and buns.

The 15-time hot dog eating champion also holds the record of devouring 76 hot dogs. However, he did not break the record. Speaking about his win, he told ESPN:

“It hurts, but I was in the zone for a little bit. I was ignoring it.”
Joey Chestnut wins his 15th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 🏆63 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes https://t.co/W6ERIgOdZq

Joey Chestnut won in the men's category while Miki Sudo won the women's category.

Winners in both categories are awarded $10,000 each. The person in second, third, and fourth place gets $5,000, $2,500 ad $1,500, respectively. The person standing in fifth place gets $1,000.

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According to ABC4, Direct Action Everywhere activist Alicia Santurio organized the protest, which took place during the competition. TMZ reported that the three gate crashers of the event were placed in custody.


Edited by Sayati Das
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