John Prescott jabbed an egg hurler, Wendi Deng slapped a foam pie thrower and now the Russian billionaire owner of the Independent and Evening Standard, Alexander Lebedev, has landed a hook on a fellow talkshow guest. Lebedev, who swung for Russian real estate developer Sergei Polonsky after he expressed a “desire to give [him] a punch in the chops”, later claimed his actions were justified. “In a critical situation, you don’t choose: I don’t see any reason to get hit first if you know it’s coming,” he said.
But is violence in situations like these ever justified? Can we excuse the actions of politicians and media moguls who lash out on instinct? Or should we expect them to behave peacefully at all costs?