Joey Chestnut has just one regret after this year’s Nathan’s Famous Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The competitive eater, 38, who scarfed down 63 hot dogs (including the water-soaked buns) on the Fourth of July, contado EUA hoje Esportes that he should not have put a protestor who rushed the stage mid-competition into a chokehold.
“As soon as I grabbed the guy, I realized he was a kid,” Chestnut, who won the competition, told the outlet Tuesday. “I felt bad afterwards. I was just amped up, just focused on getting back to eating.
“It’s just unfortunate. I wish that it didn’t happen. It’s a bummer,” ele adicionou.
O “kid” was identified as protester Scott Gilbertson, 21, of Berkeley, Califórnia, who was charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and harassment, the outlet said. He was one of three animal rights activists with the grassroots group Direct Action Everywhere protesting the Coney Island, New York event.
Gilbertson, wearing a Darth Vader mask, held up a sign that read, “Expose Smithfield Deathstar,” referencing pork supplier Smithfield Foods, and situated himself directly next to Chestnut, as the eater was devouring his 18th hot dog of the 10-minute-long competition.
“I was freaked out a little bit because he had the mask on,” Chestnut told EUA hoje. “I saw the mask and I think that’s when I realized he doesn’t belong here.”
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Enquanto isso, Gilbertson told the outlet that he felt the 15-time Nathan’s Famous Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest champ overacted in the moment.
“I felt like it was unnecessary for sure,” ele disse. “I had the mask on so I couldn’t see who it was. I assumed it was a security guard. And then when I saw the video, it was Joey. I was surprised.”
Gilbertson added that his neck is still sore from the incident.
Direct Action Everywhere did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Chestnut, Enquanto isso, shared on the HOJE exposição Tuesday that he is still recuperating from the contest, where he out-ate the nearest competitor by 15.5 hot dogs, likening his ongoing recovery to that of a marathon runner’s.
“I don’t feel too great,” ele disse.