Directed by Franny Armstrong • Documentary • 2005 • 85 minutes
McLIBEL is the story of two ordinary people who humbled 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. 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 maneuvers. 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 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.
"A remarkable achievement" —Ken Loach
"Powerful" —Time Out
"A vivid account of democracy in action — the people versus the system — and an often hilarious expose of big business arrogance...an extraordinary example of independent filmmaking." —Sydney Morning Herald