Bob’s Burgers Actor Guilty In Capitol Riot Case

By TeeJay Small | Updated

If you’ve been following along with modern American politics in recent years, you’re no doubt familiar with the attempted insurrection at the nation’s Capitol, which occurred on January 6, 2021. Hundreds of fringe American right-wingers attended the deadly riot, including a few names, faces, and voices familiar to us all. One such member of the mob includes Bob’s Burgers voice actor Jay Johnston, who recently plead guilty to charges of civil disorder.

Pesto’s Problematic Politics

While Jay Johnston’s career is undoubtedly overshadowed by his politically-motivated extracurriculars at this point, he was formerly known as a comedy mainstay, lending his talents to such projects as Mr. Show With Bob and David, Moral Orel, The Sarah Silverman Program, and Arrested Development. His most notable recent performance includes a stint as the voice of Jimmy Pesto, the pizzeria-owning antagonist of the Belcher family in the hit animated series Bob’s Burgers.

From Voice Actor To Vitriol

When Jay Johnston’s participation in the January 6 insurrection was first reported, the actor was fired from the Fox cartoon, and has since been replaced by the incredibly prominent voice actor Eric Bauza. Johnston’s increasing political vitriol has been noted by many of his former friends and collaborators within the entertainment industry, many of whom are left-leaning voters who were appalled but not surprised by the actor’s contribution to the deadly protest.

A Deadly Game Of Politics

During the January 6 riot, crowds formed outside the building before shattering doors and barriers, illegally entering the halls and offices of the nation’s Capitol, and accosting members of the secret service, resulting in at least 10 deaths.

Some members of the crowd could be heard chanting calls for further violence, including the phrase “hang Mike Pence,” in a politically-motivated act of terror aimed to intimidate elected officials into overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election in favor of then-incumbent Donald Trump. For his role in the storming of the Capitol, Jay Johnston was arrested back in June of 2023, and charged with civil disorder.

Trial And Sentencing

Now that Jay Johnston has plead guilty to these federal criminal charges, sentencing is set to begin this coming October. The actor has not yet made a public statement about his involvement in the insurrection, nor his decision to plead guilty, and is likely to remain media silent until after his sentencing takes place. Guidelines for incarcerating an individual on these charges include prison time from 8 to 14 months, on average.

Encouraging An Unruly Crowd

Per reports and court documents, Jay Johnston’s role in the insurrection included a highly hands-on performance, which saw him assisting his fellow rioters as they assaulted Capitol police by passing a stolen riot shield to the front lines of the violent confrontation. Johnston is also said to have encouraged rioters to push into the interior of the building, and aided in smashing entrance windows.

The Upcoming Election

As the upcoming 2024 election draws nearer, federal agencies are preparing for the inevitability of a repeat of 2021’s political violence. The race, which sees Trump and President Joe Biden facing off in a rematch of 2020, has only garnered more vitriol from the general public with time. Hopefully, federal convictions such as those placed on Jay Johnston will help to deter fringe groups from taking to the streets for a violent uprising.

Source: Associated Press