Corporate Accountability Activists and Community Leaders Urge Philip Morris CEO to Retire Marlboro Man

Apr 05, 2001, 01:00 ET from INFACT

    GREENWICH, Conn., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The home of Philip Morris Chair
 and CEO Geoffrey Bible is the site of a protest today by the national
 corporate accountability organization Infact. Infact is calling on Mr. Bible
 to use his leadership position within the tobacco giant to end aggressive
 tactics like the Marlboro Man, the image that has made Marlboro the #1
 cigarette among US youth. Local activists from the Green Party of Westchester
 County, Global Youth Action Network, the Connie Hogarth Center for Social
 Action and the Purchase Student Activists Collective from SUNY Purchase
 College are joining with Infact-whose major strategy is a Boycott targeting
 Philip Morris's Kraft Foods subsidiary-to demand that Philip Morris stop
 promoting tobacco to kids and keep out of public health policy.
     Protesters wearing masks showing the Marlboro Man as a skeleton are
 holding a candlelight vigil in Mr. Bible's neighborhood in memory of family
 members and friends lost to tobacco addiction. Boycotters from Greenwich,
 Fairfield, Hartford and around the country have signed thousands of messages
 calling on Philip Morris to withdraw the Marlboro Man-described by its creator
 as "the right image to capture the youth market's fancy" and arguably the
 world's leading source of youth tobacco addiction. Local residents will
 deliver 457 of these messages to Mr. Bible's home, symbolizing the number of
 people who will die around the world from tobacco-related illnesses during the
 hour-long vigil.
     Emily Orchier of the Green Party of Westchester County is one of dozens
 who have signed a giant message being presented to Mr. Bible, reportedly in
 his final year at the helm of Philip Morris. "Over the next year, four million
 people around the world will be lost to tobacco-related illnesses. Members of
 this community are here tonight to urge Mr. Bible to change his legacy by
 taking swift, decisive action to retire the Marlboro Man while he's in a
 position to do so," says Ms. Orchier.
     The vigil in Mr. Bible's neighborhood follows a similar challenge issued
 by Infact only a week ago in Princeton, New Jersey, where Philip Morris board
 member John Reed lives. "It's clear that local communities and activists care
 about this issue," says Infact Organizer Kim Foltz. "The recent expansion of
 the Kraft Boycott is a testament to this growing concern."
     The United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society and the
 American Medical Student Association have just joined more than 200 other
 organizations and prominent individuals in endorsing Infact's Kraft Boycott.
 Many of these people have been motivated to action by the hard-hitting
 documentary Making a Killing: Philip Morris, Kraft and Global Tobacco
 Addiction, produced for Infact by AndersonGold Films. In recent weeks Making a
 Killing has screened before receptive local audiences at the Young Men's and
 Women's Hebrew Association, Pop Sustainability, and on the campus of SUNY
 Purchase.
     While spreading tobacco addiction around the world, Philip Morris has used
 its ownership of Kraft to gain leverage with consumers and policymakers-as
 shown in millions of internal corporate documents released to the public
 through litigation. Despite an 800% increase in Philip Morris's image
 advertising from 1998 to 1999, the corporation's attempts to polish its image
 may be backfiring. A recent Harris Interactive poll found that 16% of
 respondents familiar with Philip Morris had boycotted its products in the past
 year.
     Leading up to the corporation's annual shareholders' meeting in Richmond,
 Virginia on April 26, Philip Morris recently filed for an Initial Public
 Offering of stock for its Kraft Foods subsidiary. "A glance through Philip
 Morris's 2000 Annual Report shows that top executives are seriously concerned
 about attracting, motivating, and retaining qualified employees-particularly
 in the food division. Tensions within the corporation are intensifying. The
 IPO may be just the tip of the iceberg," says Infact's Foltz.
     The protests, according to Ms. Foltz, are part of an international drive
 throughout April-building toward the Philip Morris annual shareholders'
 meeting and government negotiations on the Framework Convention on Tobacco
 Control-an international treaty that could limit the tobacco industry's
 advertising, promotion and political influence. "From Princeton, NJ to
 Greenwich, CT to Chicago, IL, community leaders and activists across the US
 are rallying together to demand that Philip Morris withdraw the Marlboro Man
 and stop lobbying to water down public health protections like the Framework
 Convention on Tobacco Control," concludes Ms. Foltz.
     Since 1977, Infact has been exposing life-threatening abuses by
 transnational corporations and organizing successful grassroots campaigns to
 hold corporations accountable to consumers and society at large. From the
 Nestle Boycott of the 1970s and '80s to the GE Boycott of the 1980s and '90s
 to today's Boycott of Philip Morris's Kraft Foods-Infact organizes to win! For
 more information visit www.infact.org.
 
 

SOURCE INFACT
    GREENWICH, Conn., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The home of Philip Morris Chair
 and CEO Geoffrey Bible is the site of a protest today by the national
 corporate accountability organization Infact. Infact is calling on Mr. Bible
 to use his leadership position within the tobacco giant to end aggressive
 tactics like the Marlboro Man, the image that has made Marlboro the #1
 cigarette among US youth. Local activists from the Green Party of Westchester
 County, Global Youth Action Network, the Connie Hogarth Center for Social
 Action and the Purchase Student Activists Collective from SUNY Purchase
 College are joining with Infact-whose major strategy is a Boycott targeting
 Philip Morris's Kraft Foods subsidiary-to demand that Philip Morris stop
 promoting tobacco to kids and keep out of public health policy.
     Protesters wearing masks showing the Marlboro Man as a skeleton are
 holding a candlelight vigil in Mr. Bible's neighborhood in memory of family
 members and friends lost to tobacco addiction. Boycotters from Greenwich,
 Fairfield, Hartford and around the country have signed thousands of messages
 calling on Philip Morris to withdraw the Marlboro Man-described by its creator
 as "the right image to capture the youth market's fancy" and arguably the
 world's leading source of youth tobacco addiction. Local residents will
 deliver 457 of these messages to Mr. Bible's home, symbolizing the number of
 people who will die around the world from tobacco-related illnesses during the
 hour-long vigil.
     Emily Orchier of the Green Party of Westchester County is one of dozens
 who have signed a giant message being presented to Mr. Bible, reportedly in
 his final year at the helm of Philip Morris. "Over the next year, four million
 people around the world will be lost to tobacco-related illnesses. Members of
 this community are here tonight to urge Mr. Bible to change his legacy by
 taking swift, decisive action to retire the Marlboro Man while he's in a
 position to do so," says Ms. Orchier.
     The vigil in Mr. Bible's neighborhood follows a similar challenge issued
 by Infact only a week ago in Princeton, New Jersey, where Philip Morris board
 member John Reed lives. "It's clear that local communities and activists care
 about this issue," says Infact Organizer Kim Foltz. "The recent expansion of
 the Kraft Boycott is a testament to this growing concern."
     The United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society and the
 American Medical Student Association have just joined more than 200 other
 organizations and prominent individuals in endorsing Infact's Kraft Boycott.
 Many of these people have been motivated to action by the hard-hitting
 documentary Making a Killing: Philip Morris, Kraft and Global Tobacco
 Addiction, produced for Infact by AndersonGold Films. In recent weeks Making a
 Killing has screened before receptive local audiences at the Young Men's and
 Women's Hebrew Association, Pop Sustainability, and on the campus of SUNY
 Purchase.
     While spreading tobacco addiction around the world, Philip Morris has used
 its ownership of Kraft to gain leverage with consumers and policymakers-as
 shown in millions of internal corporate documents released to the public
 through litigation. Despite an 800% increase in Philip Morris's image
 advertising from 1998 to 1999, the corporation's attempts to polish its image
 may be backfiring. A recent Harris Interactive poll found that 16% of
 respondents familiar with Philip Morris had boycotted its products in the past
 year.
     Leading up to the corporation's annual shareholders' meeting in Richmond,
 Virginia on April 26, Philip Morris recently filed for an Initial Public
 Offering of stock for its Kraft Foods subsidiary. "A glance through Philip
 Morris's 2000 Annual Report shows that top executives are seriously concerned
 about attracting, motivating, and retaining qualified employees-particularly
 in the food division. Tensions within the corporation are intensifying. The
 IPO may be just the tip of the iceberg," says Infact's Foltz.
     The protests, according to Ms. Foltz, are part of an international drive
 throughout April-building toward the Philip Morris annual shareholders'
 meeting and government negotiations on the Framework Convention on Tobacco
 Control-an international treaty that could limit the tobacco industry's
 advertising, promotion and political influence. "From Princeton, NJ to
 Greenwich, CT to Chicago, IL, community leaders and activists across the US
 are rallying together to demand that Philip Morris withdraw the Marlboro Man
 and stop lobbying to water down public health protections like the Framework
 Convention on Tobacco Control," concludes Ms. Foltz.
     Since 1977, Infact has been exposing life-threatening abuses by
 transnational corporations and organizing successful grassroots campaigns to
 hold corporations accountable to consumers and society at large. From the
 Nestle Boycott of the 1970s and '80s to the GE Boycott of the 1980s and '90s
 to today's Boycott of Philip Morris's Kraft Foods-Infact organizes to win! For
 more information visit www.infact.org.
 
 SOURCE  INFACT