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2005 ,    » 23 Comments
Ratings: 8.14/10 from 14 users.

McLibel is the story of two ordinary people who humiliated McDonald's in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history. McDonald's loved using the UK libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organizations like the BBC and The Guardian crumbled and apologized.

But then they sued gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris. In the longest trial in English legal history, the "McLibel Two" represented themselves against McDonald's £10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation's business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children.

Outside the courtroom, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald's tried every trick in the book against them. Legal manoeuvres. A visit from Ronald McDonald. Top executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations. Even spies.

Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise - especially the British Government. McLibel is not just about hamburgers. It is about the importance of freedom of speech now that multinational corporations are more powerful than countries.

Filmed over ten years by no-budget Director Franny Armstrong, McLibel is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry. And in doing so, changed the world.

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23 Comments / User Reviews

  1. me

    great story

  2. lykdysplt
  3. lykdysplt

    ...mmm time for a big mac, large fries, large coke, and could you supersize my heart attack.

  4. Sally
  5. Sally

    Personally I never really liked McDonald's food. I think it's the worse tasting burgers you can get and they're paper thin, they don't really fill me up.

  6. The man
  7. The man

    With so many doomsday, gloom and doom documentaries about how we're all being controlled by this government and that corporation with no end in sight I really enjoyed watching this film and it's positive message.

  8. Eff
  9. Eff

    Stay McHealthy. Don't eat the food. Eat the McPackaging.

  10. AO
  11. AO

    An inspiring story, and an inspiring documentary (I really wish I'd made it!). It's no-budget, so has no gloss and no tricks, and the two campaigners are very ordinary, but that just makes the whole thing all the more astounding.

    I've been following this story almost from the beginning of the court case, and I'm delighted that the film is still being seen and talked about.

  12. Bar
  13. Bar


  14. Lisa
  15. Lisa

    Awesome and very inspiring! They should have gotten married though - it would have made a romantic ending!!!

  16. Ana
  17. Ana

    Thanks God for the internet! The future looks shiny for us. Very inspiring story.

  18. aaangie
  19. aaangie


  20. Borsi Csókás
  21. Borsi Csókás

    congrats guys:)

  22. dean abr
  23. dean abr

    It went from being about health and selling children to a socialist/communist campaign about wages, number 1 business is only in business to make money, if the workers arnt skilled enough well they should go to school, my grand parents were exploited but it allowed them to have luxuries like a house, a car, a phone, a television and in their spare time they improved their skill set. Britain is a socialist society

  24. Ryan Patrick Walsh
  25. Ryan Patrick Walsh

    Workers cannot afford a good education unless they have money. Houses, cars and other luxuries do not make up for lack of education and lack of free speech. Also, you have no idea what a socialist society is, obviously.

  26. mikey
  27. mikey

    dean abr its not the 1950's anymore. Your untimely statement is so out of date it makes you look like a neanderthal(old baby boomer).Obviously you live in a first world country where being exploited while going to college/university and receiving socialized/subsidized/corporate scolarship funding is possible.
    Try doing the same thing in most of the 3rd or 2nd world countrys.Try that in mexico for is free but many people are so poor they cant afford to attend.The wages/salarys are so low they cant afford to eat, live and attend school at the same time.Try unionizing? They just shoot you.
    Not only that but in the 1950s prices of housing were affordable compared to todays prices.I live in a first world country and remember in 1975(thats 75 not 1960 or 50) a house were I lived in a major city cost $50-60,000. Today that same house costs well over $700,000 perhaps even 1,000,000. In 35 yrs housing prices have gone up 12x+.(or the buying power of one dollar has diminished over 12x+)Perhaps in 1950 you could make $3-5 dollars (in 1975 if my mom made $5.00, in order to have the same buying power today in 2011 as in 1975 she would have to make $60.00+ hourly) and buy that house over 20-30yrs.Now try buying that house with 20,30,40,50 dollars an hour, I wish you the best of luck!(mcjob pays $6.00 hr. rent for 1 room $500.00 mnth,bus bass for 1 month $100. and most jobs are part time so the employer pays no benefits=20-30 hrs wk)The world that you are talking about is a distant dream that exists only in your imagination.Im sorry to tell you but your old world thinking is not applicable for reality in 2011.Your thinking needs a serious makeover of reality.

    other than silly people out of touch, the video was inspiring and worth watching. I wish i saw this when it first came out.It should be required as part of public school education.Thanks for posting. Posting these health videos is a wonderful public service.

  28. Kumamori
  29. Kumamori

    Everybody who gave their help to fight this single battle were important. There's two fronts we fight, one on the information side and this was a major victory there, and the other front is on practical world. The practical world is still, in terms of food, ruled by a few giant corporations like McDonalds who, as a consensus in the false guise of competition, exploit their workers and nature. There's one major thing why we should voice this out: because we have better solutions. Farming the natural way, aka. permaculture, is one.

    About fats, I don't know if the articles are true, but in health and wellness archives you can read about many natural fats being good for us, at least when properly prepared or not prepared. They say that trans-fats are bad though, those industrial-mixed ones like margarine, and light-colored oils too. Take notice of this and experiment. I can only speak for myself, but after adopting a diet I found good based on their articles, I've been feeling more healthy, and I've been said to look healthier than usually. My father did the same apart from the fatty side, he just left the major cereal carbs out a bit more, and he's been feeling better too. I gotta say, diet has very many effects: on how angry or happy you feel, whether you're depressed, your will to live, your sex drive, your energy... if you think it's bogus talk try it. Doing your own research for a week pays you for the coming years.

  30. Karmiccontrail
  31. Karmiccontrail

    Can they get the judge to rule that slaughtering billions of animals is demoniac ? Common sense tells you its not Godly ,JUDGE FOR YOUR SELF .Then stop this blood bath business from happening and then we will be so much more pious and therefor more prosperous with less bad karma.
    The evidence is in the Bible ,Bhagavad Gita ,Bhagavatam ,and the Vedas.
    Until this is done and the Vedic spiritual laws are followed ,battles like the Mclibel are endless . So why be so attached to material life .Attach your self to spiritual life by learning to meditate on Krishna .
    Dave and helen are heros but somebody smash the law with the texts that the courts rely on for the truth.
    Hare Krishna.

  32. Jo McKay
  33. Jo McKay

    Wish I had seen this years ago. Very well said, and a great example of what one, two, even a few - can do :) Recommend, even if you've seen others like it, this is a good example of what's most wrong with greedy corporations & what the long term effects are likely to be unless 'we' turn it around.

  34. CeilingCat
  35. CeilingCat

    Fifteen years of dedication by essentially two people with a belief for the defence of natural justice against a multi-billion dollar corporation should be applauded.

    But in the beginning what did the courageous independent free thinking press and television broadcasters do to defend the most basic freedom of thought, speech and expression? They simply rolled-over and apologised to the master!

    One day this case against corporate power and exploitation will be viewed as a true questioning of how we are influenced by omission rather than fact.

    After fifteen years of their lives given to this cause, they do deserve the peace of knowing that they have achieved far more to further the cause of human liberation than most of us will ever achieve in a single lifetime. Especially since there was an out of court settlement available if they were willing to roll-over and apologise as it would appear some did.

    Thank You.

  36. Joe Cellardore
  37. Joe Cellardore

    imagin what everyone with the same views as these 2 could do if they made a stand against big corporations etc.

  38. Mary Nash Stoddard
  39. Mary Nash Stoddard

    I am a great admirer of these relentless campaigners. Had the great honor of meeting and talking w/Helen & Dave @the Rock n Roll McDonald's in Downtown Chicago, in late nineties, as they toured the U.S. A quiet, well behaved crowd of their supporters showed their approval and handed out flyers to Mickey D customers as they left the restaurant. Most people don't know, but Helen & Dave were sued by McDonalds and were simply defending themselves (expertly) as Defendants. (BTW, Helen told me McDonald hired spies to infiltrate their group and pretend to support their efforts.)These two consumer advocates are my Heros! -- Hon. Mary Nash Stoddard/author Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame (Odenwald Press '98)

  40. Derek Seymour
  41. Derek Seymour

    this is why we need the human rights act

  42. Mary Stoddard
  43. Mary Stoddard

    Thanks so much, Derek Seymour. Appreciate your support of my Comment re: McLibel Trial. These two people did not deserve to be sued and harassed horribly for their stand on human rights of corporate employees. A real modern David & Goliath scenario for all the world to see. So happy my two friends, Helen & Dave prevailed. They are truly Heroes, in my opinion.

  44. Derek Seymour
  45. Derek Seymour

    Agreed 100%.

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