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Esso/Mobil Tries To Sue Greenpeace In France

Auckland, Monday, 24 June, 2002: Oil giant Esso/Mobil is trying to sue Greenpeace in France over the use of logos on the StopEsso website.

Esso claims that a double dollar sign ($$) on one logo associates the company with the Nazi SS. Esso has demanded the withdrawal of all the logos, a penalty of 80,000 Euros a day for reputational damage and 80,000 Euros per day per logo should Greenpeace fail to comply. It also demands removal of all use of the term “StopEsso”.

“This is just ridiculous. Esso knows it can't win a debate about climate change, and it won't discuss the content of the website. Instead Esso is trying to gag us with legal threats. We will fight this in court," said executive director of Greenpeace International, Gerd Leipold.

"Esso claims these logos would cause the public to be repulsed, turning them away from the Esso brand. It’s not the logos but Esso’s actions in trying to stop the Kyoto Protocol that is damaging its reputation.

"Esso is trying to interfere with free speech on the Internet. The company is simply worsening its already bad reputation even further with this ill-considered legal action.

“Esso is a big, rich company. It is simply trying to use its muscle and money to stop anyone who is critical of its policies," said Leipold.

Esso is the world's biggest oil corporation. In 2001 the company made profits of $US15.5 billion. Greenpeace is an independent environmental group, funded entirely by individual donations from supporters.

Esso is marketed as Exxon and Mobil globally. StopEsso, a coalition of groups including Greenpeace, is campaigning around the world to stop Esso from sabotaging international action to address climate change, such as the Kyoto Protocol. The French website { HYPERLINK } over which Esso wants to sue, is one of several StopEsso sites globally.

A hearing date has been set down for Monday July 1, 2002 in Paris.

For interviews or more information, contact:
Robbie Kelman, Greenpeace NZ, Climate Campaigner 021 565165 or Brendan Lynch, Communications Officer, 021 790817 or { HYPERLINK }

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