The right to freedom of expression on the internet was dealt a blow on July 9 when a Paris judge ordered Greenpeace to stop using a parody of the Esso logo in its Stop Esso campaign in France, pending a full hearing. Oil giant ExxonMobil, which operates in France as Esso, is suing Greenpeace France to protect its "Esso" brand name.
ExxonMobil is not worried about the fact that it has disgraced itself in the eyes of many people by arguing that global warming isn't happening or that it has sabotaged international climate agreements.
ExxonMobil is worried because Greenpeace is making fun of its logo. The corporation charged that Greenpeace is deliberately trying to create "a repulsion, which turns away customers from the Esso brand" by placing dollar signs in the spoof logo.
The corporation has even suggested that Greenpeace is attempting to draw a connection between the world's biggest climate criminal and "the infamous [Nazi] SS".
ExxonMobil is demanding a penalty of 80,000 euros for damage to its reputation and 80,000 euros a day if Greenpeace France does remove the doctored logo from it web site <http://www.greenpeace.fr/stopesso/>.
Greenpeace argues that the public's repulsion with Esso and ExxonMobil has nothing to with the mock logo but is the result of the corporation's anti-environment record.
[Latest information at <http://www.stopesso.org/>.]
From Green Left Weekly, July 31, 2002.
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