Greenpeace has responded to being ejected from the MacExpo in London saying it was “a totally over-the-top reaction”.
Speaking to Macworld, Zeina Al-Hajj, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaign said: “We registered as an environmental NGO (non governmental organisation) called Green My Apple, so it’s not like we were hiding anything”.
However, it is clear to Macworld that the MacExpo event management didn’t realise Green My Apple (www.greenmyapple.org) was part of Greenpeace. According To Zeina: “We started distributing organic apples to people as an introduction, as well as handing out flyers for the campaign. Then the event management tried to curtail events and told us to remain on our stand. We said 'we are an exhibitor' and the event management replied ‘well we’re not too happy about that either’. So I don’t know if when we did the registration if they got that we were Greenpeace.”
Zeina Al-Hajj also disputed the MacExpo management’s version of events regarding the photographed baby. The event management previously told Macworld that Greenpeace had taken a photo of a baby holding an apple without asking the parent’s permission first. “That is incorrect,” said Zeina Al-Hajj, “the photographer was always instructed to ask for permission before taking a photograph. Particularly for her she said ‘yes fine’ and then she was talking to the campaigner and he explained about the Greenpeace campaign and she didn’t agree with it. She was like ‘well I don’t like this’ and actually I don’t want my photo included’. So the photographer deleted her photograph and we don’t even have that picture any more”. In later transpired that the woman – who complained to the event management – was an Apple consultant being paid to look at how people use Macs.
The MacExpo event management also told Macworld that they had no problem with Greenpeace’s message, but according to Zeina that also was not the case: “We had this parody of the Mac advert. We had a photo of the design guy on the stand and we were asking people if they wanted to hug him. We were told not to do this.” The Greenpeace exhibitor also claims the management told them they could not wear their T-shirts as they walked around the event: “The T-shirt was black with the shape of a woman blowing a kiss to an apple and it said ‘I love my Apple I just wish it became green’. On the back it had the URL for the campaign.” They told us “you can’t wear that, it was ridiculous – we couldn’t even go to the toilet”.
They also deny interfering with other people’s stands, Zeina told us: “We did not put our paper on other people’s stands. We have our own information on our stand so we didn’t put it on other people’s stands.”
Greenpeace is dismayed at the reaction they had from MacExpo telling us: “The campaign does have a positive message. We’re not about boycotting Apple or asking people to boycott Apple. We could have rolled out a banner but we don’t want to do that. We want to talk to the people and talk about the future of this industry.” Zeina added: “If we were convinced that there was no way they could make a greener product then we would stop today. We know that there are alternatives, we know that other companies are doing these alternatives, so why not Apple?”
Despite the events at MacExpo, Greenpeace seems undeterred by the experience: “The whole purpose of the event was to be friendly. For us it is a little pity because this is the last place we expected to be kicked out of. We left voluntarily and in a peaceful way.”
Greenpeace is hoping to have a stand at the next MacExpo.