Today is International Day of Action Against McDonald’s, and all over the world environmentalists, nutritionists and trade unionists are marking the day with a series of actions and educational forums aimed at exposing the seamy side of the $30 billion corporate giant.
Much of the impetus behind this year’s global day of action comes from an unlikely source — a former postman and single father by the name of Dave Morris, and a part-time bartender, Helen Steel. Together they’ve come to be known as the McLibel 2 — two unsung activists with London Greenpeace who were suddenly thrown into the international spotlight after McDonald’s sued them for libel because they distributed a pamphlet called, “What’s Wrong With McDonald’s?”
The libel trial hit the record books as the longest trial in English history, lasting more than two and half years. The court heard more than 313 days of evidence and handled some 40,000 pages of documents. The trial ended in June when the judge found that most of the points raised in the pamphlet were truthful.
Today, we’re very happy to be joined by Dave Morris and Helen Steel, the McLibel 2. Helen Steel, we talked to you a couple of times during the trial. Why don’t you tell us how this all began?
- HELEN STEEL AND DAVE MORRIS, a part-time bartender and a former postman who together became known as the McLibel Two. Corporate giant McDonald’s sued the two for libel for distributing a pamphlet called, “What’s Wrong With McDonald’s?” The trial became the longest court case in British history.
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The beef industry has come under severe scrutiny in recent months following the largest ever recall of meat from a Hudson’s Food factory in Nebraska this past summer. While the e-coli scare lasted only briefly, it again highlighted the vulnerability of the food industry, and more specifically, the beef industry, to contamination and disease.
- JOHN STAUBER, the founder and executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, a group dedicated to public interest reporting on government and industry based in Madison, Wisconsin.