Longest legal battle in English history reignites in the European Courts.
(2/16/05) - The bartender and single dad from London won an official blow against McDonald's yesterday at the European court of human rights.
For anyone who doesn't know, long before that guy in New York bothered to do the "Supersize Me" experiment McDonald's hired private detectives to infiltrate a small, independent political action group in London in the 1990s to collect dirt against them and charge the two primary figures with libel. What was their crime? They stood in front of McDonald's around London and handed out little leaflets titled "What's Wrong with McDonald's" which stated the corporation exploits children, is guilty of cruelty to animals, destroying the rainforest, paying low wages and peddling unhealthy food as otherwise.
David Morris and Helen Steel were pitted against the bottomless legal pockets of Mickey D's and when forced to defend themselves they said, "Bring it on." At least I assume it was a phrase like that and unlike W. they actually ment it and stuck it out themselves even though they both work regalur day jobs and have no legal experience or training.
313 days in trial these two pleaded their case and proved true at least half of the statements on their little leaflets the majority of McDonald's patrons most likely disregarded before the corporation brought all this negative, world-wide attention to its own dumbass.
Required to pay 60,000 pounds because they couldn't prove all the statements to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt, the defendants quite understandably said, "Pay it with what?" They were broke and had been defending themselves in court for a full year.
Now the European court has granted the two defendants nearly 25,000 pounds in damages due to the fact that it was ridiculous libel laws favoring the corporation to not provide these two everyday folks practicing free speech with any form of legal aid what so ever. Justice happens sometimes and in small amounts. Good.
For anyone who hasn't seen the film, it's cool. Very lo-fi, but a good documentary that doesn't need gut-wrenching scenes of some guy in Houston getting his guts sucked out because he ate too many Big Macs. Check it out.