A California mother and an advocacy group have filed a lawsuit against McDonald's in California trying to force the company to stop advertising Happy Meal toys, National Public Radio reports:
The group filed the class action suit on behalf of parents, including plaintiff Monet Parham, a 41-year-old mother of two from Sacramento who says she's fed up with the pestering.
"Happy meals are among the those things frequently requested, and the first thing they ask me to do is open the toy," Parham said in a press conference today. "I'm really concerned about the health of my children, and I don't think its OK to entice children to get Happy Meals with a toy," she added.
If she's really concerned about the health of her children, no one is forcing her to go to McDonald's in the first place. And if she can't figure out how to say no to her children, it's a problem that's about more than just McDonald's.
The lawsuit also claims that "McDonald's advertising is also unfair to its competitors, who do not choose to attract very young children with the lure of a toy." It also claims that "Internal McDonald's documents prove its intent to subvert parental authority."
The lawsuit makes reference to Monet Parham's 6-year-old child, Maya:
Because of McDonald's marketing, Maya has frequently pestered Parham into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not have otherwise purchased.
Although Parham frequently denies Maya's repeated requests for Happy Meals, these denials have angered and disappointed Maya, thus causing needless and unwarranted dissension in their parent-child relationship.
This is a great television and radio and culture war issue. The right sees it as excessive litigation and lack of parental responsibility; the left sees it as big corporations preying on children at the expense of public health. And since Michelle Obama has made childhood obesity her signature issue, there's a White House angle, too.