Golden Arches Prevail

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LONDON: McDonald's libel case against two leaflet-distributing vegetarians ended in victory today after a judge ruled their criticism of the burger giant amounted to slander. The lawsuit, the longest ever waged in an English court, was directed against two members of the left-wing group London Greenpeace (not related to Greenpeace International) who handed out anti-McDonald's pamphlets outside its restaurants in Britain. McDonald's said the pamphlets, which accuse the burger giant of pushing unhealthy food and mistreating its employees, were false and harmful to its reputation. The defendants, Dave Morris and Helen Steel, fought the charge on free speech grounds, saying they should have the right to air alternative views and criticize multinational corporations. The presiding judge didn't buy the argument, stating flatly that some of the duo's claims were pure whoppers. But the Golden Arches didn't get off unscathed either. After grilling the critics, the judge declared some of their complaints were clearly valid. The final take for McDonald's? 57,500 pounds, or about $94,000 in damages.