Nestle Waters of North America seems to be in the international spotlight right now, and they don’t seem to be all that happy about it.
A Paris-based TV crew is in McCloud right now doing a bottled water story, talking to supporters and those who oppose Nestle’s proposed water bottling plant.
Given Nestle’s history in McCloud (secret meetings, divisive statements designed to factionalize the area, etc), even some of Nestle’s supporters are questioning the Swiss multinational’s intent to build here, and international attention probably won’t help.
McCloud – like Fryeburg – has become something of a public relations albatross around Nestle’s neck, and only the prospect of relatively obscene profits can be keeping the company here.
Back in Maine, a Swiss-based film crew made the rounds, but according to local activist Jamilla El-Shafei, Nestle operative Mark DuBois wanted nothing to do with the film crew:
This morning members from SAVE OUR WATER attended a Wells Chamber of Commerce event at 7:00 am called EGGS & ISSUES. This is a monthly breakfast meeting of local business people when the Chamber invites a guest to speak about a pertinent issue. Today’s presenter was Mark DuBois, the resource manager from the Nestle label Poland Springs. The tradition at the meeting is to have Q&A after the presentation.
Dubois gave his power point presentation and after his dog& pony show, he said that he would be happy to take questions “outside.” Clearly, with two film crews present he did not want to have to answer any difficult questions. So I went up to him to ask a question as the camera man followed, and he started moving away from me. Corey Hascall, his pr person (fyi she was my face book friend until I learned that she worked for Nestle’s PR firm–very unethical), blocked the camera with her hands. She positioned herself between DuBois and me.
Then when I got close to DuBois she physically shoved me! She is a big woman and it was quite a push back! It was caught of film by the Swiss Film crew who is in the country making a film about Nestle. However, I managed to follow DuBois out of the door and the film crew followed me. DuBois then walked very fast to his gas sucking, big truck.
Nestle’s tactics remind me of the trend in national political PR, where politicians avoid press conferences, preferring instead to speak in settings where the message can be broadcast without question, and the question that are asked are invariably docile.