Security staff and event management forcibly ejected Greenpeace members and closed down their stand during the first day of the MacExpo in London.
Greenpeace, which had paid for stand space at this year’s MacExpo, was promoting its Green My Apple campaign (www.greenmyapple.org). The campaign attempts to put pressure on Apple to remove environmentally unfriendly substances from its products. Greenpeace also wants Apple to offer and promote a free take-back scheme for all unwanted equipment.
Flyers and leaflets handed out at the show accused Apple of being one of the worst computer manufacturers for including harmful materials in its products. A guide to harmful materials handed out by Greenpeace rated Apple at just 2.7 out of 10 for environmental friendliness: below Dell, Sony, Samsung, Toshiba and other companies.
According to Bob Denton, Event Director, the removal of Greenpeace had nothing to do its message or the materials being handed out. Bob said: “They paid money and had the right to be at the show.”
The problem started when a group of 12 Greenpeace activists gathered outside the show entrance and started handing out flyers and apples to attendees. Bob Denton said: “We want people to be cool and calm as they enter the show”.
He explained to the Greenpeace organisers that it would be acceptable for two activists to stand by the stairs inside the show and hand out flyers, but the event management would not allow a gathering outside the main door.
There then followed a number of complaints about the behaviour of Greenpeace activists from four visitors and five exhibitors, one of which was Apple. Allegedly, Greenpeace attendees were invading other stands for mock photo shoots and replacing other exhibitors’ promotional material with their own.
The problem came to a head when one woman complained that they had placed an apple in her child’s pram and were taking photographs of him without her permission.
Bob Denton told Macworld: “I explained to them that I had the right to eject them but that wouldn’t happen if they showed reason.” However, later in the day, “two more visitors and two more exhibitors complained” and he ejected the activists under clause 13 of the terms and conditions that Greenpeace signed.
“They were determined to create conflict,” said Bob Denton, “that was their only objective and I had the right to eject them just as I would if they were drunk and abusive.”