Interested in the trial of the century? McSpotlight is a site devoted to the McLibel case, currently the longest case in the history of British justice. In 1990, McDonald's brought a libel action against five members of London Greenpeace (not related to Greenpeace International) for distributing a leaflet entitled 'What's Wrong With McDonald's' which criticised the company for its environmental, nutritional and labour policies as well as deceptive advertising.
The leaflet first appeared in 1985. The current libel law puts the onus on the accused to prove they are right, rather than the company having to prove them wrong and as libel cases are ineligible for legal aid they are usually uncontested, thanks to the legal and financial resources of large corporations - a fact exploited repeatedly by McDonald's in the past to prevent matters ever reaching court. With this in mind, three of the activists apologised and made their restractions but two, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, decided to continue their protest in the courts and have the focus for a massive support campaign against the corporation. Forced to call the pair liars. They have counter sued, forcing McDonald's to prove the pair wrong.
This site contains a wealth of information including full copies of court documents, CV's for witnesses, daily updates of the court action and weekly review of the media coverage. There is also a copy of the disputed leaflet online. If nothing else, the site is full of McDonald's witness howlers including the defence by Edward Oakley, Vice President of McDonald's UK, that despite false advertising that polystyrene boxes would be recycled, it is still environmentally friendly to dump them "otherwise you'd end up with lots of gravel pits all over the country."
We particularly like the idea of coke being nutritious because it is "providing water, and I think that is part of a balanced diet" as suggested by David Green, Senior Vice President of Marketing (USA).
Witty site choke full of fascinating details. Everything McDonald's doesn't want you to know. Pay it a visit while you still can.
The next edition of Internet Today carried a brief review of the McDonald's site:
Corporate stakes are high on the Net. Mel Richards discovers whose most at home on the Web in this site round-up of the world's premier multinationals taken from an FT top 100 companies survey.
US based. Est US $28,454 million capital
If you've seen the McSpotlight Web site about the McLibel case and thought that perhaps the litigiousness of McDonald's was being overrated - this site will convince you otherwise. It's the only one we have EVER seen that includes a 1,500 word page of Terms and Conditions for accessing the site.
Ironically, it's the most interesting part of the entire homepage, though the adults version does include investor information, a copy of the latest annual report and share purchasing scheme. After the McLibel trial revelations of the hamburger giant's concern for keeping landfills busy, the section on the company's environmental commitment may cause some raised eyebrows.