- McLibel -

doesnt look like a victory to me

Posted by: alexander stollznow ( australia ) on June 12, 1999 at 12:58:43:

while i can only note the impressively comprehensive, high quality web site, i am surprised by the attitude in the story section. it actually implies that McDonalds were 'defeated' in their libel action. This is plainly not so. That they did not pursue costs is hardly surprising, and they could never have thought they would get any in the event of a win, for the simple reason that they knowingly sued individuals with no money. That McD's did not pursue an injunction is not a defeat either, as the issue was not aired, and would have also been utterly inneffective, given that anyone of the rest of the worlds McD haters could produce their own pamphlets quite simply.

Rather, the case plainly showed that the factual content of the pamphlet was largely completely lacking in any supporting evidence. To me that makes the authors simple liars, and the defendants at best completely failed to verify the truth of anything they believed. The parts of the pamphlet found to be justified dealt with issues that were not really factual at all. Rather they hinged on the subjective meaning one ascribes to words such as 'exploitation' and 'cruelty to animals', and other particularly emotional issues.

It seems to me that McDonalds, despite the formal result sought in the statement of claim, rather most likely wanted an exhastive debate of the issues involved in a rigourous forum. And that was achieved, even if they were not completely vindicated in the judgement.

Of course, the defendants 'won' as well ie they got off effectively scott free despite distributing damaging material about McDonalds that was largely utterly baseless. They, however, could never have lost, because, like Bob Dylan said, when youve got nothing, youve got nothing to lose.

McSpotlight: Good grief. Look, McDonald's issued over 30 writs in the UK before the trial to silence their critics - they have issued none since.

McDonald's spent 10 million on the trial; for damages they could never claim for fear of making their PR disaster even worse.

And in the run-up to the appeal, McDonald's declared themselves to be "satisfied with the findings of Justice Bell"; that is, they admitted to exploitation of children, culpable cruelty to animals, promoting an unhealthy diet and paying their staff low wages. These are the same issues they originally went to court over; if they are happy to admit in court that these issues are true now, why weren't they then?

Face it, McDonald's had a large hole blown in their corporate image and had their image tarnished because they thought that they could bully the McLibel Two into silence the same way they did the BBC, Channel 4, The Guardian newspaper, Today newspaper, TV3 Nightline and others.

They were wrong; which is why McSpotlight was formed. And we've had over 65 million hits in the last three years, so the genie is now out of the bottle for McDonald's.

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