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Wal-Mart strikes at critical movie

Company alleges ‘careless disregard for the facts’
/ Source: The Associated Press

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., under a new barrage of criticism for how it treats its workers, is going on the offensive a week before the launch of a documentary that attacks the retail giant. The company alleges that director Robert Greenwald’s movie “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices” gets basic facts wrong.

The world’s biggest retailer and largest private employer in the United States, with 1.2 million domestic workers, is also touting a rival DVD release, “Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Drives Some People C-R-A-Z-Y”.

“I’m a bit surprised at the amount of money that they are spending in attacking me,” Greenwald told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Thursday.

In a media packet sent to news organizations this week, and on its Internet site, Wal-Mart says it has only seen trailers for the Greenwald movie but dismisses it as “a propaganda video”.

“We have seen the trailers and some ’bonus’ footage, and it’s already obvious that Mr. Greenwald has a careless disregard for the facts,” Wal-Mart said in a news release.

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Greenwald’s movie will have a limited release on Nov. 4 in New York and Los Angeles and then go to a week of screenings across the country organized by Wal-Mart critics including unions. Greenwald, who produced and directed “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism,” says none of the $1.8 million in private financing for the film came from organized labor.

Organizers expect about 40,000 people at 7,000 DVD screenings in the week starting Nov. 13 in churches, homes, libraries and universities nationally.

“The movie Wal-Mart doesn’t want you to see” is what campaign group Wake-Up Wal-Mart calls Greenwald’s film in a national ad campaign that starts next week. The group funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers is helping promote the movie with a series of print, online and broadcast ads.

The film uses interviews with small business owners, ex-Wal-Mart workers and managers, community activists and workers in overseas factories to allege that Wal-Mart’s low-cost, low-price business model is bad for communities, the economy, its employees and their families.

Wal-Mart said that it has no plans to sell DVDs of the positive film on Wal-Mart in its stores, but they can be purchased on www.whywalmartworks.com. DVDs of Greenwald’s movie can be purchased on www.walmartmovie.com.