In yet another odd twist in this Green Scare, POM Wonderful, the juice company, is using the scare tactics of the New McCarthyists to go after one of its core consumer bases: the vegan, natural foods set.
POM filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week, saying that a looming threat posed by illegal activism calls for banning activists from protesting and posting information about the company on their websites.
If you’re totally confused right now, just wait, it gets more bizarre. Here’s some background first: POM has built its juice empire by touting the health benefits of pomegranate juice on its website and in the press. Activists are pissed because they say the company spends millions on animal research to showcase the health benefits of juice, all the while branding itself as a caring, natural foods company.
Animal testing for… juice? Activists say POM’s animal tests include “lowering the brain oxygen levels in newborn mice to cause them brain injuries and ‘forcing their mothers to drink water mixed with pomegranate concentrate,’” according to Jessica Garrison at The Los Angeles Times.
In their court papers, company officials say they believe the protesters are affiliated with the Animal Liberation Front, which the FBI has said is a domestic terror threat. And the company is fighting back, asking a judge to fine activists $1,000 if they post personal information about POM employees on websites. Company officials also want a judge to order activists not to picket or demonstrate outside the homes of the juice company’s employees.
As POM admits, though, no employees have experienced any violence as part of this campaigning. At worst, employees have seen legal protests at their homes, which can you can read more about on L.A. Indymedia.
And even if property destruction or threats had taken place, the activists responsible for those crimes should be prosecuted independently: POM can’t simply try to paint ALL protests of their business practices as illegal. It doesn’t matter if POM “believes” activists are affiliated with the underground Animal Liberation Front, because that’s not grounds for taking away basic First Amendment rights. POM clearly wants to silence activists that expose their business practices, and is willing to go to great lengths– including this “eco-terrorist” scare-mongering– to do it.
It shows the danger of all this “eco-terrorist” rhetoric: it sets a precedent for anyone to use green baiting to silence dissent, even a juice company targeting health-conscious vegan consumers.