Beware! Big McDonalds is Watching You

Burger Giant Sues Green 'Anarchists'

McDonalds Launches Libel Action Against David Morris And Helen Steel

Carol Midgley

Daily Mirror, June 29, 1994

BURGER giant McDonalds launched a multi-million pound libel battle yesterday against two unemployed "green crusaders".

The High Court fight - dubbed David meets Goliath - is between the world's biggest fast food chain and ex-postman David Morris and former gardener Helen Steel.

The pair are accused of distributing leaflets that claim McDonalds food causes cancer, destroys the environment and exploits children.

McDonalds, which has a turnover of £15billion a year, have hired a galaxy of QCs and solicitors to fight the case.

Single parent David, 40, and Helen, 28 , who belong to the anarchist London Greenpeace group, are representing themselves in the four-month trial.

The court heard yesterday how private investigators infiltrated group meetings in North London to find out why they were targeting the burger firm.

Richard Rampton QC, for McDonalds, said: "Investigators found it was a group of like-minded individuals whose view of the world was what can only be described as anarchist.

"Their aim seems to be the destruction and dismantling of organised society and of capitalism."

Junk McDonalds security staff took pictures and film footage of the David and Helen - nicknamed the McLibel Two - at anti-McDonalds demos.

Mr Rampton said the burger chain was suing over the leaflet What's Wrong With McDonalds? Everything They Don't Want You To Know.

It claimed they sold junk food high in fat, salt, sugar and chemicals, but low in fibre, vitamins and minerals, which has been linked to cancers of the breast and bowel and to heart disease. It accused the company of exploiting children with party gimmicks and the Ronald McDonald clown, encouraging them to eat unhealthy food.

And it said the company added to third-world starvation and destroyed the rain forests for grazing.


The six-page leaflet bears the logo McRipoff, McDollars, McCancer, McMurder, McTorture, McProfits, McGarbage.

McDonalds say all allegations in the leaflet are "totally false".

Yesterday, Helen Steel, in T-shirt and leggings, and David Morris, in shirtsleeves, trousers and sandals, sat on the front bench alongside bewigged QC Mr Rampton.

"The implication is that McDonalds deliberately snare children into eating food which is at best un-nutritious and at worst poisonous," said Mr Rampton.

Helen and David, who has a five-year-old son, deny publishing the leaflets which also accuses the company of exploiting its workers, of causing food poisoning and of being cruel to animals. But they will argue that everything in it is true.

The vegetarian pair from Tottenham, London, say they are upholding their right to free speech and to bring powerful companies under scrutiny. Mr Rampton said McDonalds was not seeking damages over the case, since both defendants, were penniless.

He added that a "healthy" person could eat seven McDonald's meals a week and still fall short of maximum safety levels of saturated fat.

Rock star Paul McCartney's wife Linda has donated £1,000 to the anarchist group, which has no connection to Greenpeace International.

The case continues.

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