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Nov 20th, 2004, 04:04 PM
Fast-food critic says he feels threatened

By Seth Slabaugh, November 20, 2004, www.thestarpress.com (http://www.thestarpress.com/articles/1/029929-7251-002.html)

MUNCIE - Three years after publication of his book Fast Food Nation, freelance journalist Eric Schlosser remains fearful that McDonald's is going to sue him any day.

And that's not all he's afraid of.

On Thursday afternoon, Schlosser was escorted by linebacker-sized Ball State University police Cpl. Alvin Tank, armed with a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun, into a classroom at Pittenger Student Center for a question-answer session with six students. An officer accompanied the author everywhere he went on campus.

"It's kind of embarrassing that I have to have security," Schlosser told The Star Press. "To me, it's a symptom of what's wrong with this country at the moment. My book has inspired some people to call me a socialist or communist or un-American. We had a Civil War in this country, and when you look at how other countries fly apart, it's because people start being called traitors, un-American, and demonizing one another. That's very, very dangerous."

Despite being a best seller, the book had no impact on the fast food industry, according to Schlosser. In fact, the conditions he wrote about - the childhood obesity epidemic, food safety, and the exploitation of slaughterhouse and fast-food workers - have worsened, he said.

Amanda Carpenter and several other conservative student protesters handed out free McDonald's burgers and fries at the front doors of Emens Auditorium on Thursday night before Schlosser's speech to hundreds of students, faculty and townspeople. The protesters also distributed pamphlets, one of which depicted Uncle Sam in his "I Want You" pose. "Eric Schlosser told me you were too fat!" the pamphlet read. "Put down that chicken tender, fatty!"

Carpenter has criticized Ball State for paying Schlosser a speaking fee of $15,000 in addition to spending $20,262 to buy copies of Fast Food Nation for all freshmen. (Schlosser says he will give the $15,000 to the Institute for Transplant Awareness). Carpenter has called the book an attack on agriculture, corporate America, and capitalism by an extremely radical leftist.

Four BSU patrolmen plus Schlosser's police escort were assigned to provide security during his speech at Emens. That's three more officers than are normally assigned to speakers at Emens.

The audience applauded when Schlosser said: "If you think you know all the answers at age 19 or 20, you are either a genius or a fool. What we all need on each side of the political spectrum is a sense of humility, even a slight admission that maybe we're wrong."

The author received perhaps his loudest applause of the evening when he accused the fast-food industry of using advertising and toys to encourage young children to eat large quantities of unhealthy food - such as salty, fatty, Teletubby-shaped Chicken McNuggets - that will permanently impact their lives.

"And that's where I think the government does have a role," he said. "We don't let the alcohol companies sell beer to children, we don't let the tobacco companies sell tobacco to children "

Carpenter and other critics of the "food police" say citizens don't need the government to dictate what is good for their children because they can simply turn off the television or choose not to buy unhealthy foods.

"We are talking about the children of America being targeted by these companies and developing habits that may lead to lifelong poor health," Schlosser said. "Last year, the Centers for Disease Control released a study suggesting that of kids born in the year 2000, one out of three will develop diabetes. This population of unhealthy people is going to cost us a fortune. This is a public health disaster."

Jason Kirton, a freshman from Kokomo, said he didn't realize until reading the book that fast-food restaurants like McDonald's relied on high employee turnover to remain profitable.

"I never thought a company would want short-term employees but they do," Kirton said. "If they're short-term employees in their teens and twenties they can't form unions and gain benefits."

Kirton also said he didn't know that fast food came from what Schlosser described as "bloody, disgusting," meat-packing plants employing illegal immigrants who live in basements. In Texas, immigrant workers injured in slaughterhouses are not eligible for workmen's compensation, and they can be - and are - fired for being injured, Schlosser said.

The meat-packing industry essentially controls the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the author said.

"The minimum wage right now, adjusted for inflation, is the lowest it has been since 1950," he told the Emens crowd. "The fast-food industry is the single-largest employer of minimum-wage labor in the United States."

Why is Schlosser fearful of being sued by the fast-food industry?

Because he remembers television talk show host Oprah Winfrey having to spend millions to successfully defend herself against Texas cattlemen who sued her after a show on mad cow disease.

Why is he fearful of being attacked during public appearances?

Partly because of an incident he declined to discuss on the record. "I haven't even told my children about it," he said.

Nov 20th, 2004, 04:59 PM
I can't believe someone was handing out McDonald's burgers. How sophisticated...

Nov 21st, 2004, 04:30 AM
The situation that Schlosser is in, is ghastly, and I can understand that he is living in fear of beng sued. We all remember the McDonalds case against those two young people in England, and the Canadian organic farmer being sued by Mosanto. I certainly hope it all goes away for him, and that his book speaks for itself. I read it and it is excellent.

Nov 21st, 2004, 04:41 AM
I've just put a long extract of that article in the Updates page of Vegan Voice.

Nov 21st, 2004, 10:45 AM
"an attack on agriculture, corporate America, and capitalism by an extremely radical leftist"

Where do I sign up? We need more of this! :)

I love his book. People need to wake up and smell the fat a fryin', then run the other way...

Northern Lights
Nov 22nd, 2004, 02:54 AM
Schlosser said that his book has had no effect on the eating habits of the nation. He needs to know that it HAS made a difference-Reading his book is one of the reasons I became a vegan!

Nov 22nd, 2004, 03:43 AM
Corporations are scary. I'm reading "Soap Opera" which is about Proctor and Gamble. The book came out in 1993. The author says they use animals for testing. I wonder if they still do?

Nov 22nd, 2004, 08:20 AM
Yes they do. :(

Nov 23rd, 2004, 04:18 PM
Schlosser said that his book has had no effect on the eating habits of the nation. He needs to know that it HAS made a difference-Reading his book is one of the reasons I became a vegan!

Same with my husband, I read him excerpts from the book and that's why he became vegan. He was absolutely sickened.

We should try to contact Schlosser and let him know! :)

Nov 23rd, 2004, 06:23 PM
This is the group that protested. I've heard from a couple people that went to see him speak that shot down everything the protesters said without batting an eye.


edit: ok, thats not the group that he shot down, but they have information on it. the young republicans is the group i was thinking of.

May 2nd, 2005, 05:53 PM

So I guess they're making some sort of Fictional Thriller movie based off of and Called Fast Food Nation. I thought it was a great book, but I'm curious as to how they'll make a decent fictional thriller out of it.

May 2nd, 2005, 07:29 PM
Oh, I`d love a movie like that! I devoured the book and gave it to everyone I could convince to read it (some people just refused when I told them what it`s about and they were the ones who could benefit most from it...)


May 2nd, 2005, 08:15 PM
This is great news! I hope they do the book justice.

Jan 5th, 2006, 10:50 PM
Avril Lavigne tucks into Fast Food Nation

Thursday December 22, 2005, http://film.guardian.co.uk (http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,12589,1672698,00.html)

Canadian pop princess Avril Lavigne is to make her acting debut in a new film about the evils of the fast food industry.
Lavigne will join the ensemble cast of Fast Food Nation, already featuring the likes of Patricia Arquette, Bobby Cannavale, Luis Guzman, Ethan Hawke, Greg Kinnear, Kris Kristofferson, Esai Morales and Catalina Sandino Moreno. The film will be directed by indie darling Richard Linklater, who recently completed work on A Scanner Darky, adapted from the novel by Philip K Dick.

Fast Food Nation will be a feature-length drama based on Eric Schlosser's non-fiction bestseller of the same title.
Linklater, of Befores Sunset and Sunrise fame, told the Hollywood Reporter that the movie would not be a documentary in the Morgan Spurlock Super Size Me mould, but a character study of the lives behind the facts and figures. "I'm more interested in fiction than nonfiction. You get to the point through human storytelling."

Fast Food Nation is due for release next year. :D

Not to be confused with Supersize Me which has it's own thread here. (http://veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=326)

Jan 6th, 2006, 12:24 AM
Hmmm, be interesting to see what they do with it.

Jan 12th, 2006, 09:23 PM
I bought Fast Food Nation the week I became vegan and read it over a few days. Fascinating, powerful and truly shocking dtuff. I meant to pick up a copy of his next book and marijuana, but never got round to it.

May 22nd, 2006, 08:45 PM
Compassion over killing isn't enough to make more vegans. I am glad fine alternative such as this exist.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=X99n9BveKns for the video,


for the discussion.

This movie comes from the book and shows the many problems eating meat offers to humanity.

May 22nd, 2006, 08:49 PM
That movie looks so good. I hope millions of disgusting animal eaters go and see that.

May 22nd, 2006, 09:33 PM
I want to do some more stalls in teh near future against fast food places ie kfc , mcdonalds etc, and although I will be saying about the animal cruelty side of it , I want to concentrate more on telling people about how by going to places like that they are contributing to destroying the rainforest and what it does to people in the 3rd world . I think less people know about how those places destroy the rainforests than know about the cruelty to animals.If that all makes sense.

I guess anythings worth a go to get people to stop eating in those awful evil places!!!

May 22nd, 2006, 10:42 PM
Aye, if only Schlosser could know how many people he turned to veg*nism with his great and insightful book. It's a shame about those radical counterprotesters, but they'll get their just desserts in a couple decades while we fly on the wings of good health. The whole idea of handing out McDonald's is a very poorly thought out conservative approach. If they were just going to say "hey, we believe government should be hands-off with the food industry, we support cheap, short-term, nonunionized labor" it'd be one thing. Too bad nutrition science doesn't have a political affiliation.

Course, now the real question here is, what exactly happened to Schlosser that he won't talk about?

May 22nd, 2006, 11:30 PM
I saw him again on TV today.

It's still a shame that's he continues to eat meat.

May 29th, 2006, 11:26 AM
Eat this: McDonalds faces its greatest critic.

Steve Easterbrook, the boss of McDonalds in the UK debated the issues with leading critic Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation on Thursdays Newsnight. It seems to be playing up, I just saw half the programme, see if it works for you here. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm) :confused:

May 30th, 2006, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the link. I really enjoyed the video. It seems that Eric has more knowledge of McDs than the CEO.

May 30th, 2006, 06:58 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for posting that gert!

May 30th, 2006, 07:39 PM
yeah I enjoyed the Newsnight link, too. I was quite surprised to find that Eric Schlosser is not even vegetarian, but then I guess that is fortunate in that he can't be dismissed as a crank with a grudge or something (though he still gets stuff like 'radical leftist' etc, as I think someone posted here).