August 11, 2022

An animal rights protester wearing an NBA referee jersey stormed the court during the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies playoff game at Minnesota’s Target Center Saturday night — the third protester removed from the court in 10 days.

The woman was sitting in the second row courtside behind Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor when she forced her way onto the court as players fought for a rebound with 10:44 left in the third quarter, game footage shows.

She was quickly tackled by several security guards while players raced for a loose ball until the refs blew the whistle and she was dragged off the court.

The protester was identified as Sasha Zemmel of St. Louis in a statement from the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere. 

Sasha Zemmel wore a ref jersey before storming the court at the Timberwolves game.
Direct Action Everywhere

Zemmel wore a makeshift referee jersey with the number 5.3 displayed on the back “in honor of the 5.3 million chickens killed” after a bird flu outbreak at Rembdrant Enterprises — an egg factory farm owned by Taylor, the organization claimed.

She appeared to be wearing a maroon jacket over the gray jersey when she was tackled by security.

According to the animal rights group, “She 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.”

This is the third protest at a Timberwolves game orchestrated by the organization.

On April 16 during Game 1 of the playoff series, an animal rights activist chained herself to the basket stanchion. The woman, wearing a T-shirt that read: “Glen Taylor Roasts Animals Alive” — tried to lock herself to the hoop during a stoppage of play in the second quarter after throwing flyers on the floor. Direct Action Everywhere identified the woman as  Zoe Rosenburg.

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Three days earlier, another woman from the organization glued her wrist to the court during the second quarter of the Timberwolves’ home game against the Clippers. The woman, identified as activist Alicia Santurio, was quickly escorted off the court as the glue was not strong enough to hinder her removal.