Animal rights protester wearing a referee jersey storms court at NBA playoff game in Minnesota

Animal rights protester wearing a referee jersey storms court at NBA playoff game in Minnesota

An animal rights protester wearing an NBA referee jersey charged onto the court of a playoff game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves — the third protest in the series within the last 10 days.

Sasha Zemmel, of St. Louis, leaped over the courtside seats where Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, 81, and his wife, Becky, were watching the game on Saturday in the third quarter with 10:44 to go before she was tackled by security and carried away.

Her companion, who remains unknown, remained behind the Taylors and next to the second row of Timberwolves assistant coaches, who helped security wrestle her down.

Zemmel is an activist for Direct Action Everywhere, according to a statement sent to from the animal rights’ group.

The non-profit has been protesting the way a chicken farm, owned by Taylor’s Rembrandt Enterprises has allegedly handled an avian flu outbreak. The highly contagious virus has killed roughly 28 million poultry. Taylor has an estimated net worth $2.5 billion.

Police have not said whether Zemmel will face any charges for her fowl display.

In the heat of the incident, Zemmel wore an alternative NBA referee jersey with the number 5.3 on the back to highlight ‘the 5.3 million chickens killed’ due to the virus, the organization claimed.

She was also seen sporting a velvet jacket over the gray jersey when security tackled her on the court.

After the game, Direct Action Everywhere said that Zemmel ‘attempted to whistle to stop play as she approached Taylor at his courtside seat, to issue a “technical foul and ejection,” along with a “fine” against Forbes’ richest billionaire in Minnesota,’ according to its statement.

Saturday night’s incident was the third animal rights protest at a Timberwolves game organized by the group since the start of the first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, currently tied at 2-2.

Zoe Rosenberg, 19, was arrested on April 16 after pulling a similar stunt at the Grizzlies’ FedEx stadium in protest against Taylor’s treatments of his farm chickens.

The drama began when Rosenberg entered the court and littered the floor with flyers, stopping the game in the process. The protester then put a yellow chain across her neck and body, attaching it to the goal post. She was quickly removed from the court and arrested.

Rosenberg faces charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. She was released on a $2,500 bond and appeared in front of a Tennessee court on April 18.

‘I think my message was heard loud and clear and I hope Glen Taylor will step down from his role at the factory egg farm and donate the government money he was given for killing all these chickens,’ Rosenburg told Action News 5. ‘I hope he’ll donate that to public charities.’

The teen got into the court by accessing a restricted area in the FedEx Forum, NBC Memphis reports.

Following her release from jail, Rosenberg posted her mugshot on Instagram and wrote in the caption, ‘This is my mugshot from jail. I have court in an hour. I’m facing charges on criminal trespass and disorderly conduct for disrupting the NBA playoff game to protest Glen Taylor, the owner of the and the owner of a factory egg farm that recently roasted 5.3 million chickens alive.’

In a separate post, Rosenberg said, ‘Protesting can be scary, but remaining silent and continuing to live in a world where animals are abused and killed is even scarier.’

Rosenberg included in the caption, ‘GlenTaylorRoastsAnimalsAlive.’ Those words were written across her t-shirt during the Grizzlies protest. She is due back in court on May 16.

Taylor is due to hand over his interest in the Grizzlies in 2023 for New York Yankees legend Alex Rodriguez.

Rosenberg’s protest came less than a week after a woman named Alicia Santurio attempted to glue herself to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ floor. That incident occurred during a game between Minnesota and the L.A. Clippers on April 12.

Unlike Rosenberg, Santurio was not arrested but merely ejected from the arena. The pair were both wearing the same ‘Glen Taylor roasts animals alive’ t-shirt during their action.

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