McDonald's is an American fast food chain.
McDonald's has often been accused of knowingly selling unhealthy food. McDonald's states that health is not only an issue of food but also of a balanced active lifestyle; this is why many McDonald's restaurants have a jungle gym for the children to play in and be active. McDonald's also sells salads and water, two healthy food items, and several drinks that are artificially flavored to taste like fruit. The documentary 'Super Size Me' aimed at proving that McDonald's had no interest in healthy customers whatsoever. Many people[Citation Needed] claim that as a private corporation, McDonald's has no responsibility to provide healthy food.
In 1990, McDonald's sued for libel several members of Greenpeace's London branch, who'd been writing and distributing leaflets criticizing McDonald's. Of the five defendants, three repented due to lack of money for legal costs. The remaining two, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, decided to take the case to court in 1994 with pro buono legal representation and public donations. This became known as the McLibel Trial.
On day 102 in court - March 13th 1995 - McLibel became the longest ever UK libel trial, beating the previous record of 101 days in the Daily Mail vs The Moonies (1982).
On December 11th 1995 it became the longest civil case (as opposed to criminal) in British history.
On November 1st 1996 (court day 292), McLibel became the longest trial of any kind in English history.
On 19th June 1997, Mr Justice Bell took two hours to read his summary to a packed court room. He ruled that Helen and Dave had not proved the allegations against McDonald's on rainforest destruction, heart disease and cancer, food poisoning, starvation in the Third World and bad working conditions. But they had proved that McDonald's "exploit children" with their advertising, falsely advertise their food as nutritious, risk the health of their most regular, long-term customers, are "culpabably responsible" for cruelty to animals, are "strongly antipathetic" to unions and pay their workers low wages.
('Not proved' does not mean that the allegations against McDonald's are not true, just that the Judge felt that the McLibel Two did not bring sufficient evidence to prove the meanings he had attributed to the leaflet.)
The Judge ruled that Helen and Dave had libelled McDonald's, but as they had proved many of the allegations, they would only owe half of the claimed damages: £60,000.