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McLibel Support Campaign
P R E S S . R E L E A S E . 14/04/05
Anti-McDonald's campaigners pour scorn on McDonald's 50th anniversary celebrations (April 15th)  
Thursday 14th - BBC show new 'McLibel' documentary, 9pm
Friday 15th Midday: 'McLibel 2' to stamp on a McBirthday cake at McDonald's Euro-HQ 11-59 High Rd, N2 (beside E. Finchley tube)
6pm -11pm Unofficial McDonald's Birthday Party - celebration or last rites? + launch of 'McLibel' DVD Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1

On Friday 15th April the McDonald's Corporation is marking 50 years to the day since it opened its first store in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA in 1955. Their CEO will be holding a special ceremony at the opening of a new store in Chicago

Campaigners, including the 'McLibel 2'
(Helen Steel, 39 & Dave Morris, 51) - following their European Court victory - will be responding with events of their own in both London and Chicago (and elsewhere, including Seoul in Korea). They will be asserting that the public have little to celebrate about 50 years of junk food, McJobs and litter. They will be celebrating instead the 20 years of growing world-wide anti-McDonald's protests.

50 years of McWorld - celebration or last rites?

· McDonald's UK and McDonald's Corporation have in recent years announced substantial drops in profits.

· McDonald's are increasingly being identified as 'public enemy No 1' in the public debate over the growing obesity crisis and the promotion of junk food, especially to children.

· Last month's McLibel victory over the UK Government at the European Court of Human Rights highlighted the significance of the damning judgments made in 1997 and 1999 by the UK High Court against McDonald’s core business practices.  Despite what is now recognized as an unfair trial the McLibel 2 (with just £35,000 raised by public donations, against McDonald’s estimated legal spend of £10m) succeeded in proving that McDonald's marketing has "pretended to a positive nutritional benefit which their food did not match"; that they "exploit children" with their marketing strategy; are "culpably responsible for animal cruelty"; and "pay low wages". And that it was fair comment to say that their employees worldwide "do badly in terms of pay and conditions", and true that "if one eats enough McDonald's food, one's diet may well become high in fat etc., with the very real risk of heart disease."

· To cap it all, protests against the Corporation continue to grow. Over 3 million 'What's Wrong With McDonald's?' leaflets have now been handed out in the UK alone since 1990 (when the writs were served), and are also being distributed worldwide in over 27 languages.

This Thursday at 9pm, on the eve of the 50th anniversary, the new Spannerfilms 'McLibel' documentary is being screened on BBC4. Following its world premiere in London last Saturday it has been described as: "Absolutely unmissable" (The Guardian); "Shamelessly partisan, if entertaining" (The Times); "Will satisfy both head and heart" (Time Out); "Charming and inspiring" (Radio Times) and "The sort of film Michael Moore probably thinks he makes" (Sunday Times).

And on Friday 15th, at midday, the McLibel 2 will stamp on a birthday cake outside McDonald's Euro HQ in Finchley, North London. In the evening the McLibel Support Campaign will be holding the Unofficial McBirthday Party where the Spannerfilms double-disc McLibel DVD will be launched. The DVD contains 5 hours of diverse and exclusive material, including revealing and hilarious commentary tracks, a recording of the secret McLibel 2 meeting with McDonald’s US executives, interviews with case witnesses, a McDonald’s spy and an ex-Ronald McDonald... and much more!

“ McDonald’s has been counting its profits for 50 years, but society has paid the price - as proven by the damning judgements we won against it in our court case in London. Are the public really impressed with 50 years of junk food, McJobs, litter, idiotic advertising, the targeting of children and cruelty to animals? We think people should look forward to McDonald's funeral, not its birthday.”

“ The real celebration should be that for the past 20 years, since the first ever International Day of Action Against McDonald’s in 1985, there has been growing public concern and debate about the business practices of the fast food industry. And growing opposition. “

“ Anti-McDonald’s leaflets  initially given out in thousands when McDonald’s sued us hoping to halt their distribution - are now distributed in millions! In opposing 'McWorld', many campaigners are working for a future without Corporations - a society based not on profits and power, but in which people control all the resources and decision-making themselves. “

- Helen Steel and Dave Morris - The ‘McLibel 2’

More info:
· the film and DVD: /
· the case and campaign:

Media Release ends

Breaking News

McDonald's in 'nothing to celebrate' shocker!

Chicago Sun-Times: McDonald's gives its 50th the silent treatment


McDonald's Corporation issued writs against the McLibel 2 on 20th September 1990 alleging they had been libelled in the London Greenpeace factsheet "What's Wrong With McDonald's? Everything they don’t want you to know". The McLibel trial began 11 years ago on 28th June 1994, and on June 19th 1997 - after a trial lasting 313 days (the longest trial ever in England) - Mr Justice Bell ruled that McDonald's marketing has "pretended to a positive nutritional benefit which their food (high in fat & salt etc) did not match"; that McDonald's "exploit children" with their advertising strategy; are "culpably responsible for animal cruelty"; and "pay low wages, helping to depress wages in the catering trade."  The McLibel trial was described by commentators as 'the worst Corporate PR disaster in history'.

On March 31st 1999 the Court of Appeal added to those damning findings. Lord Justices Pill, May and Keane ruled that it was fair comment to say that McDonald's employees worldwide "do badly in terms of pay and conditions", and true that "if one eats enough McDonald's food, one's diet may well become high in fat etc., with the very real risk of heart disease." However the Courts ruled that the McLibel 2 had still libelled McDonald's over some points and outrageously ordered them to pay £40,000 damages to the $35 billion-dollar company. The McLibel 2 have refused to pay a penny.

On February 15th 2005 the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that the McLibel trial had breached Article 6 [right to a fair trial] and Article 10 [right to freedom of expression] of the Human Rights Convention. This ruling only underlines the significance of the above rulings made against McDonald's, which were made despite all the odds stacked against the defendants.

Background ends...

contact details 
McLibel Support Campaign
5 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DX, UK.
Tel/Fax: +44 (207) 713 1269
related links  
- press releases & statements
- press cuttings: McDonald's
- press cuttings: McLibel
- press cuttings: Campaigns
- press cuttings: McLibel film
- press cuttings: related stuff
- The McLibel Trial
- witnesses statements, transcripts, evidence