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The true story of Helen Steel and Dave Morris, two ordinary people who, after being sued for libel by McDonald's, stood up to the multinational corporation. The penniless couple refused to apologize for distributing a leaflet that asked consumers to ponder the question: "What's Wrong with McDonald's?" and listed the company's transgressions. Described as the biggest corporate PR disaster in history, the legal case ran for nearly a decade (the longest in British history) and transformed Steel and Morris from anonymous non-profit activists into unlikely global heroes. Directed by Franny Armstrong, with the assistance of director Ken Loach for reenactments of key courtroom scenes
 

 The McLibel Quiz

1. Back in the 1980s, a tiny campaign group in London was handing out leaflets criticising McDonald’s business practises. How did McDonald’s respond?
a. Invited the activists to Head Office to discuss how the corporation could improve
b. Ignored them
c. Employed seven spies to infiltrate the group for eighteen months, illegally obtained the activists’ home addresses via contacts in the police and then issued libel proceedings

2. Major media organisations like the BBC and The Sunday Times had crumbled and apologised when faced with similar legal threats from McDonald’s—as had unions, tea shops, colleges, magazines and kids theatre groups. So what did gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris do?
a. Crumble and apologise
b. Flee to Spain and assume new identities as investigative geologists
c. Spend the next fifteen years representing themselves against McDonald’s crack team of lawyers in what was to become “the biggest corporate PR disaster in history”

3. What was McDonald’s barrister’s original estimate for the “McLibel Trial,” which lasted two and a half years and became the longest court case in English history?
a. 3-4 weeks
b. 2 years
c. A lifetime

4. According to McDonald’s UK Vice President—one of more than 100 witnesses who gave evidence in the trial—what are living conditions like for battery hens laying eggs for Egg McMuffins?
a. “Appalling”
b. “Better than being stuck in a courtroom with Steel and Morris for three years”
c. “Pretty comfortable”

5. According to McDonald’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, why is Coca-Cola nutritious?
a. Because “it is providing water and I think that is part of a balanced diet”
b. Because it “contains all the vitamins and minerals a human body needs”
c. Because it “doesn’t contain as much fat as a Big Mac”
d. Because “I drink three cans a day and I’m still alive”

6. According to McDonald’s UK President, why do the “youth of today” want to work at McDonald’s?
a. It’s the “only job they can get with no qualifications and few brain cells”
b. For the “good wages, good conditions and even good-er team spirit”
c. Because they “want to be part of something victorious, something they can see as the shining light”

7. Dave is a single father who brought up his young son, Charlie, alone throughout McLibel. How did Helen support herself financially?
a. With the accrued interest from her family’s ancestral home and 400 acres of prime pheasant shooting woodland, Steelington Manor
b. Working nights behind the bar at a nightclub
c. Selling off her prized collection of original Beatles albums

8. According to McDonald’s UK Vice President, why is it environmentally friendly to dump disposable packaging in landfill sites?
a. “So rabbits and other small mammals can use the cartons for nest building.”
b. “Otherwise you’d end up with lots of vast, empty gravel pits all over the country.”
c. “If we don’t cut down the trees to make packaging, they will produce too much oxygen.”

9. According to McDonald’s UK Chief Marketing Officer, what is a key element of Free Speech?
a. “The wide distribution of movies like McLibel and Super Size Me, which aim to portray the opposite point of view to McDonald’s two billion dollar annual marketing effort.”
b. “The right of ordinary people to criticise multinational corporations without fear of a lawsuit.”
c. “Advertising.”

10. Which of the following does McDonald’s not do, according to the verdict at the end of the trial?
a. Exploit children with advertising
b. Deceptively advertise their food as nutritious
c. Create litter
d. Treat animals cruelly
e. Pay low wages

11. How many “What’s Wrong With McDonald’s” leaflets have been handed out since Helen and Dave were sued in 1990?
a. None
b. 3,000
c. 3 million in the UK, plus a million worldwide in 27 languages

12. Roughly how many times has the McSpotlight website—described as “an image conscious corporation’s worst nightmare”—been accessed?
a. 100
b. 100,000
c. 100,000,000

13. Taking into consideration your answer to the previous two questions, have McDonald’s successfully stopped the public finding out the truth about the corporation?
a. Yes
b. No

14. In 2004, Helen and Dave sued the UK Government at the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the original trial had violated their Right to Freedom of Expression and Right to a Fair Trial. Who won?
a. That would be giving the ending away

 

Answers
1c, 2c, 3a, 4c, 5a, 6c, 7b, 8b, 9c, 10c, 11c, 12c, 13b, 14a