Ronald McDonald under Mac-attack!

Despite the ads, not all kids are fans of the burger kings

Denise Waterman

Willesden & Brent Chronicle, Thursday January 4 1996

AN ACTION group run by youngsters is working hard to dispel the image that all kids are McDonald's crazy.

This clued-up crew of young people, many of whom are from Brent, is against the multi-national organisation and all it stands for and they are busy spreading the word. Reporter DENISE WINTERMAN went to meet Kids Against Big Mac.

Based at the King's Cross Women's Centre, Kids Against Big Mac is no shoddy operation.

Made up of youngsters aged between 10 and 15, they are more clued-up than most adults when it comes to Ronald McDonald.

And they don't mince their words when it comes to the company's working practices and the way it portrays kids in its advertising.

"We want people to know that there are kids who don't like McDonald's," said 13-year-old Kuan. "In their advertising they make out that we loved their food and will drop anything just to have a Big Mac - it's just not true."

The group was set up at the Centre in October 1994. The youngsters had heard about the McLibel case and decided to lend their support.

"We wanted to produce our own leaflet for young people," said 10-year-old Kat.

"We thought it was important to let them know all the facts about McDonald's."

The youngsters have a number of concerns about the company, including its treatment of animals and staff.

"A lot of the people who work at McDonald's are young people," said Kuan.


"They need the money and can't get jobs anywhere else. We fight for their rights."

Since the group started, Kids Against Big Mac has been extremely active.

They have been on a number of pickets at restaurants across the country and locally, including the Kilburn High Road branch.

They have spoken at different workshops and seminars, including the UN Fourth World Conference in Beijing this summer.

One of their most recent pickets was at the opening of the new King's Cross branch in early December.

"We thought it was terrible that McDonald's tore down the local post office," said Jan, 10.

"They have all this money and do this while we are fighting to save our own home just around the corner. They should use their cash for better things."

The kids are also joining the fight to save the King's Cross Women's Centre, which is threatened by a huge rise in rents.

"It would be a tragedy if we lost our base," added Jan. "There would be nowhere for us and all the other groups to go."

With members across the country and letters of support from around the world, the group is expanding fast.

Members say because they are young they get a lot of media attention and gradually youngsters around the country are getting to know about them.

"We want kids to know they are not on their own if they don't like McDonald's," said Kuan.

They are already planning for 1996: they want to re-write their leaflet and go to court to support the McLibel Campaign, and, of course, have fun.

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