Citation Vick D & Campbell K (2001) Public protests, private lawsuits, and the market: The investor response to the McLibel case. Journal of Law and Society, 28 (2), pp. 204-241. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6478.00187
Abstract The tendency of English libel law to protect reputation at the expense of freedom of expression makes the United Kingdom a potentially attractive forum for retaliatory lawsuits against individuals and organizations who lobby or campaign against the interests of large companies. The most prominent recent example of such a lawsuit was the so-called 'McLibel' case, in which McDonald's Corporation sued protesters who had distributed anti-McDonald's leaflets outside some of the company's restaurants. The case is often cited as evidence that the risk of unfavourable publicity generated by retaliatory libel actions is a strong deterrent to using the libel laws to silence public opposition to corporate activities. This article uses a technique widely employed in financial economics research, the 'event study' method, to investigate whether the unanticipated bad publicity attracted by the McLibel case had a negative financial impact on McDonald's, such that future retaliatory lawsuits might be deterred.
Journal Journal of Law and Society: Volume 28, Issue 2