Activists Guilty of Libelling McDonald's


19th Jun 1997

A British judge ruled on Thursday that two penniless environmental activists were guilty of libelling hamburger giant McDonald's in a pamphlet.

Judge Rodger Bell, who decided the verdict after a case lasting 313 days and included testimony from 180 witnesses, awarded damages of 60,000 pounds ($98,300) to McDonalds.

"The majority of the defamatory statements I found to be untrue. Others were true," Bell said in his nearly two-hour summation of a three-volume verdict.

The judge found that statements in the 1984 six-page pamphlet that McDonald's was responsible for starvation in the Third World, destruction of rainforests and for selling unhealthy food "injured the plaintiff's reputation."

But he did find that statements that McDonald's paid low wages and was responsible for cruel treatment of animals being held for slaughter were true.

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