Ronald Reagan's campaign may be assaulted from many quarters, but a U.S. judge has declared it immune from a "Big Mac attack."
The object of the judge's ire: a color poster featuring Reagan dressed as the clown-suited Ronald McDonald standing in front of the hamburger chain's Golden Arches. "Give Ronald a job he can handle," reads the poster.
Officials of the Chicago-based fast food chain were less than amused by the poster, printed by a Northern Virginia firm.
McDonald's Corp. filed suit against the printer in federal court in Alexandria, accusing it of abusing both the Republican presidential candidate and the company's advertising symbols.
District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. agreed and issued a temporary order against Punch Posters, 5850 Leesburg Pike, Baileys Crossroads and its 21-year-old owner, Thomas Shadyac, barring further distribution of the poster. Bryan, a Democrat when he was named to the bench, did not comment on the political satire in the poster, which Shadyac said yesterday already has sold 4,000 copies.
The poster also shows a sign, similar to those at the restaurants which tell the number of hamburgers old. On the poster the sign reads: "Ronald's Over 69 Years Old." That, the chain claimed, was "denigrating the ability of Ronald Reagan." McDonald's would never authorize a poster "which disparages the ability, competence and person of any presidential candidate," the company said.
Shadyac yesterday denied that the poster was intended to satirize Reagan
Shadyac yesterday denied that the poster was intended to satirize Reagan. Its only purpose, he said, was to make money.
Shadyac is the son of Washington attorney Richard Shadyac, a registered agent of the Libyan government, who claimed last July that the Carter-Mondale reelection campaign committee had authorized him to seek Arab-American votes in the fall election. Carter campaign chairman Robert Strauss vehemently denied the statement at the time.
Bryan has scheduled a hearing for next Thursday on a request for a permanent restraining order.