TV actor and comedian Jay Johnston has been arrested in California over connections to the January 6th United States Capitol attack that took place in 2021. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Johnston was charged by the Department of Justice in Los Angeles this Wednesday. AP News reports that the attorney for Johnston “did not immediately respond to a telephone call and text message seeking comment.”
Jonston is most well known for work on Mr. Show with Bob and David, where he is both a writer and cast member. He is also known for playing Officer Jay McPherson on The Sarah Silverman Program as well as voicing the nefarious Jimmy Pesto in Bob’s Burgers. Johnston also had a hand in the cult Adult Swim series, Moral Orel. He not only directed two of the episodes but also voiced both Coach Denielle Stopframe (before Scott Adsit took over the role) and school bully Joe Secondopinionson.
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Provided by AP News and available through Court Listener, an FBI agent’s affidavit describes Johnston’s involvement from police body cam footage during the attacks. The actor “pushed against police and aided other rioters near an entrance to the U.S. Capitol.” The affidavit also describes Johnston signaling and directing other members of the crowd, as well as providing water to the other rioters after they had been tear-gassed. Johnston can also be seen holding a stolen U.S. Capitol Police shield over his head, participating in a “shield wall” in order to break into the building.
The FBI interviewed three “current or former associates” of Johnston, who all identified him in provided photos from the attack. One of the individuals provided a text message where Johnson himself admitted to being involved in the attack. In the text, Johnston describes that the event was mislabeled by the news as well as his experiences.
“The news has presented it as an attack. It actually wasn’t. Thought it kind of turned into that. It was a mess. Got maced and tear gassed and I found it quite untastic.”
The FBI also uncovered records from United Airlines showing that Johnston made a round-trip flight reservation. The actor flew from his home in Los Angeles to Washington D.C. on January 4th, and then returned on January 7th.
Jay Johnson Was Identified After An Online Post
Bob Belcher and Jimmy Pesto from Bob’s Burgers
On March 4th, 2021, the FBI’s official Twitter put out a statement asking for help on identifying the various attackers. Photos of Johnston were among the many who were, at the time, mystery individuals. The tweet can be viewed below.
Johnston was quick to be identified by the masses online, but he was not officially confirmed. But the crew behind Bob’s Burgers were quick to act and subsequently fired the actor from his reoccurring role. The absence of the character was quick to notice for fans. Jimmy Pesto was a rival and antagonist for Bob Belcher from the first season. The character, who owns a pizzeria across the street from Bob’s Burgers, reveled in always being one-step ahead of the Belcher family and their burger joint. He was also the father of Tina Belcher’s constant source of affection, Jimmy jr. The dance-crazed son, and his two little brothers Andy and Ollie, still make regular appearances. Jimmy Pesto’s last official appearance on the show was in season 11, as well as a few (silent) cameo appearances in The Bob’s Burgers Movie.
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