The McLibel Case

“A long time ago there was a company that made lots of money selling bits of meat between two bits of bread.

Many people were employed to put the meat between the bread and many animals were killed to be the meat.

A friendly clown persuaded children to love the company.

Some decades passed and all was well. The company became very, very rich. Richer even than many countries.

And then some people wrote in their newspapers that eating lots of the meat and bread could make people ill. Other people said on television that too many trees had been cut down and that the workers were unhappy.

This made the company very angry.

The company looked around the world and saw that in England there existed a special law that could stop people saying things the company didn’t like.

And make them say sorry.”

 

The Guardian newspaper apologized.

Other Newspapers apologized.

Channel 4 apologized.

Daily Mirror apologized.

Daily Mail apologized.

Bromley and Hayes News Shopper apologized.

BBC Radio Sheffield apologized.

Granada Television apologized.

The Cumberland News apologized.

TimeOut apologized.

Sunderland and Washington Times apologized.

Linda McCartney apologized.

Lowestoft Journal apologized.

Spitting Image apologized.

Best magazine apologized.

GreenScore apologized.

Green Capitalist apologized.

Hatfield polytechnic apologized.

Turning Up The Heat apologized.

Chiltern apologized.

Morning Star apologized.

Here’s Health apologized.

Morning Star apologized.

filmkraft apologized.

Chiltern Radio apologized.

Casio College apologized.

Today apologized.

Manx Independent apologized.

Slow Observer apologized.

Islington Community Housing apologized.

Wales on Sunday apologized.

Of the Greens apologized.

New Leaf Tea Shop apologized.

Kingston on Thames polytechnic apologized.

The Sun apologized.

BBC apologized.

Somerset Country Gazette apologized.

Bournemouth Advertiser apologized.

 

McLibel Not sorry

(Intro of documentary video below)

 

This case has always inspired me. I saw this first about 10 years ago and admired the tenacity and principles of two “small” people not bowing to a Goliath.

In a nutshell, two activists where sued by McDonald’s (the American side who found a loophole in UK’s legal system) for libel because they were handing out leaflets regarding the food, staff treatment, animal cruelty etc.

Their activism was covered by several news media organizations, Newspapers and TV news channels. McD got “upset” and all the media people apologized… except these two simple “little” giants Helen Steel and David Morris.

 

mcdonalds_wideweb__430x315

 

Fasting forward 5+ years, they half won the case against McD upon appeals and went further to the European Court winning their case that it isn’t fair that when regular people are sued by a multi-million dollar company with all their big shot lawyers, for the regular people not being able to get free legal representative. Any criminal has the right for free legal aid, but regular folk who are completely outnumbered and outsourced by a Goliath should be able to have the same rights. And they won that case!

They deserve a spot in my Hero section. Helen Steel, David Morris, Keir Starmer and all the volunteers and supporters who chipped in to support their case, which in reality Steel and Morris fought for all of us regular people!

It is really worth watching this almost 1.5 hour documentary. If you are on the right side of justice and empathy for hard working people, this will inspire you to even just support people who don’t have the power or means to fend for themselves.

 

Full McLibel Documentary

Website of the Documentary

McSpotlight

 

A spot on quote: “Most so called anti-social behaviour is actually people fighting over the crumbs that are thrown from the table. The real people who are behaving anti-social, are those who control all the resources and deprive other people of what should be shared amongst us all.”

— Helen Steel (at about 1:12:50)

 

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