Those watching the proceedings live witnessed Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng leapt from her seat behind him in an apparent effort to shield him from the attack, believe to have been carried out by a protester, who was quickly removed by police.
A short time later, BBC's Twitter feed read:
Rupert #Murdoch 'hit in face with plate covered in shaving foam' by audience member at #hacking hearing, witness Chris Bryant MP says
The Huffington Post offered video of the attack.
The hearing restarted within 10 minutes, however, with Rupert Murdoch seen seated without his jacket and the room largely cleared of onlookers.
Murdoch finished the session by reading a prepared statement.
Murdoch had earlier described his appearance to answer questions from lawmakers over alleged phone hacking by News of the World as "the most humble day of my life."
News of the World reporters have been accused of illegally accessing thousands of cellphone voice mails of celebrities, politicians, rival journalists and even murder victims.
U.K. lawmakers are seeking to uncover the extent of criminality at Murdoch's News of the World tabloid.
James Murdoch told the legislative panel that he and his father had “great regret” about the phone-hacking at the tabloid newspaper owned by the Murdoch media empire.