CLOWN BASHES BIG MACS
Geoffrey Giuliano - a former Ronald McDonald - launched his own brand of Big Mac attack. And it was directed at his old employers, McDonald's Restaurants of Canada. "Meat is murder," the ex-hamburger clown told a crowd of about 150 animal-rights activists demonstrating in front of a McDonald's restaurant at 192A Bloor St. W.
A vegetarian since the 1970s, Giuliano lashed out at the burger giant for "the senseless killing of animals for food."
Sold out "tell the readers of the Sun Ronald McDonald says it's naughty to eat meat," he said. Giuliano, 36, played the popular clown in Toronto from 1980 to 1982. A graduate of "Ronald McDonald University" - the chain's training school - he was one of several Ronalds working throughout the world. "I sold out when I was Ronald and I'm deeply sorry for that," said Giulano, who is now a successful rock biographer living in Upstate New York
Giuliano also played the Magical Mystical Burger King for Burger King restaurants in the Northeastern U.S. in 1978-79 and is currently working on a book titled Confessions of a Corporate Clown. He made $50,000 a year, had a private chef, limo service, and an office with a personal secretary during his tenure as Ronald McDonald.
"McDonald's let me go because they said I wasn't "McDonaldized" enough,"
said Giuliano. "Which really means I didn't toe the corporate line." McDonald's
spokesman Simon Halls told the Sun Giulano is entitled to his opinion.
"We're proud of everything we're doing," said Halls.
SENDING OUT THE CLOWNS
Geoffrey Giuliano has gone straight. The former Ronald McDonald clown says that, after years of "deceiving thousands of innocent, trusting children," he has thrown in his rubber nose and striped socks to promote the joys of vegetarianism. Not only did Giuliano spend time as a member of what he calls "the McDonalds' corporate juggernaut," but also says he is ashamed to admit to a stint posing as "the Marvelous Magical Burger King," which involved performing a children's magic show celebrating the glories of meat-eating for McDonalds'-rival Burger King Corp. Now, the former clown is telling all in his memoirs, Confessions of a Corporate Clown. And as part of what he describes as his effort to make amends for past sins, Giuliano is developing a magic show he plans to take to schools and vegetarian food fairs. He added, "This show is my way of saying sorry for selling out so blatantly to concerns who make their millions off the murder of countless animals and the exploitation of children for their own ends." A lot to beef about!
MaClean's Magazine, Canada
September 10, 1990
EX-RONALD McDONALD TURNS IN HIS BURGERS
An author and vegetarian activist welcomed a producer and two broadcasating technicians from the hit television show "A Current Affair" to Lockport this week. "Affair" producer Andrea Spiegel, cameraman Doug Meltzer and sound engineer Everette Wong went to Beatles biographer Geoffrey Giuliano's mansion to interview the author about his vegetarian philosophy and plans for a campaign he's involved with.
Giuliano, a former Ronald McDonald clown for McDonalds of Canada, has taken off his big red shoes and commited himself to a life of speaking for his cause. In addition to his life as Ronald, Giuliano is well known for his popular biographies of the Beatles. As Meltzer had the film rolling in the backyard of the stately home, Giuliano and Spiegel discussed vegetarianism.
"These days, people are becoming increasingly aware and conscious of what they put into their bodies," Giuliano said. "People need to be educated. That's my goal," Giuliano said. He said "non-violence" is an approach that can be successful in many cases. "As many people are Christians, I urge them to remember the Bible says 'Thou shall not kill.' There's no sub-clause that says it's okay to kill animals for food," Giuliano said.
Spieget and her "Affair" crew drove out to the country with Giuliano to get film footage of cows grazing in a field. Vegetarians are encouraged to eat milk products that come from cows, he said. "Butter, milk, yogurt, cheeses and ice cream. These things come from the cow and are an important part of a vegetarian diet," Giuliano said. "Current Affair" first became interested in the Giuliano story when contacted by the author's agent.
"If I was just a vegetarian, they wouldn't have wanted the story. But since I worked as Ronald, the show's producers wanted it," Giuliano. Spiegel said she and the other crew were happy to "get away" from New York City and New Jersey, where most of the show's officials are based.
Union-Sun & Journal, Western New York
June 8, 1991
RONALD McDONALD BECOMES A VEGGIE
Meat's murder says Mac star
BURGER clown Ronald McDonald has shocked his old bosses - by becoming a VEGETARIAN.
Now US star Geoffrey Giuliano, who played Ronald on McDonalds TV ads, rescues cows from the slaughterhouse and has pledged to wage a one-man war against eating meat. The 36-year-old kids' favorite declared: "Meat is murder! Man can get along very happily on fruit, vegetables and whole grains. "I brainwashed youngsters into doing wrong - eating burgers. "I want to say sorry to children everywhere for selling out to concerns who make millions by murdering innocent animals."
Geoffrey beat 600 other clowns to get the first Ronald job in Canada in the early 80s. He had his own TV show and earned about L40,000 a year.
When he decided to quit, he claimed, McDonalds called a crisis board meeting. Now Geoffrey spends his time running a "cow protection community" on his estate in Western New York, where animals are allowed to grow old gracefully. McDonalds, the world's biggest fast-food chain refused comment.
Daily Mirror, London
A full page article which appeared in the supermarket tabloid, Globe, in July of 1991.
This has to be the strangest news of the year - Ronald McDonald has become a militant vegetarian. The sinister clown, the living symbol of the Chicken McNugget, is touring American chat shows, spreading the word that meat is murder. To be strictly accurate, the McGreen McTraitor is Geoffrey Giuliano, who claims to be the only actor to have played both Ronald and the Burger King. After a year promoting McDonalds on TV, Giuliano's conscience got the better of him, and he now runs a Cow Protection Community, home to ten calves he bought from a veal farm. He only took such meaty roles in the first place, he says, in order to feed his wife and children - though not, one presumes on Big Macs.
September 5, 1991
NOW IT'S RONALD McVEGGIE
The actor who played Ronald McDonald has become a crusading vegetarian.
"Meat is murder," says Geoffrey Giuliano who held the L40,000-a-year McDonalds job for a decade. Now Giuliano, 38, has set up a "cow protection community" in New York State to try to make amends.
September 18, 1991
BIG MAC CLOWN'S A VEGGIE
The clown who starred as Ronald McDonald in McDonald's telly ads has quit to lead a crusade against burgers. Actor Geoffrey Giuliano - famous world-wide as the burger-loving clown - revealed he is a vegetarian!
He has pledged to rescue animals from the slaughterhouse "as my way of saying sorry for selling out to concerns who make millions out of murdering them." Giuliano, 38, has bought ten calves who wander free on his "Cow Protection Estate" in New York State. He earned L40,000 a year from McDonald's and had his own staff, including a chef.
September 18, 1991
20 TASTY NUGGETS ABOUT THE BIG MAC EMPIRE...
The original Ronald McDonald has turned vegetarian and is urging children not to eat meat. Geoffrey Giuliano, who played the colorful clown on McDonalds's TV adverts, has quit his job and set up a Cow Protection Community to save cattle from the slaughterhouse.
"Meat is murder," American Giuliano said yesterday. "I am only sorry I took on the role of Ronald McDonald before I came to my senses. "I know it sounds crazy, but I tell children now that it's naughty to eat meat."
Giuliano, 38, earned over L40,000 a year playing the lovable clown which is still an attraction at McDonald's restaurants all over the world. But he added at his home in Western New York: "I want to apologize for helping to brainwash, young people into doing what I now know is wrong - eating burgers and other meat."
The original Ronald McDonald clown, who helped make Big Macs famous, has turned vegetarian. Here are 20 things he knew that you didn't.
- 1.McDonalds sell 18 million Big Macs everyday.
- 2.The company has 11,300 restaurants and 22 million customers.
- 3.Ray Kroc, who founded the firm in 1954, died eight years ago.
- 4.Dale and Tracey Townson held their wedding reception in a Swindon McDonalds.
- 5.Mickey Mouse ditched McDonalds to promote Burger King.
- 6.McDonalds have 390 British restaruants.
- 7.US hostage Edward Tracy asked first for a Big Mac after his release in Lebanon.
- 8.Staff go on an 18-week course at the Hamburger University in East Finchley, London.
- 9.When Richard Branson ran out of food at his annual staff party he sent out for 1,700 McDonalds takeaways.
- 10.The food giants can't get a site in a jet-set shopping complex in Massachusetts, USA.
- 11.But they won a battle to open in Hampstead High Street, London.
- 12.Yet another controversial site is on the doorstep of the Tower of London.
- 13.Pranksters planted cannabis outside a restaurant in Stourbridge.
- 14.McDonalds are marketing their own ultra low-fat burger.
- 15.They have invested L50 million to re-cycle all their boxes.
- 16.They use vegetable oil after a L2 million campaign by heart attack victim Phil Sokolof.
- 17.Jayne Torvill met her future husband in a McDonalds.
- 18.Liz Taylor paid L80 for a taxi to fetch a Big Mac in Switzerland.
- 19.Thelma Bellows, of Michigan, won L5 million in a McDonalds competition, but was disqualified because her daughter worked there.
- 20.UK chippies have been urged to smarten up to stop the threat from McDonalds.
Ian Trueman September 18, 1991
IS MEAT MURDER?
Star's Verdict As Mac Clown Backs Veggies
Burger clown Ronald McDonald stunned the world by revealing he is a vegetarian and declaring: "meat is murder."
Geoffrey Giuliano, 38, made a fortune during his years promoting McDonalds' burgers. Now he says a diet of nuts, fruits, beans, beans and vegetables is better your health.
The father-of-four runs a cow sanctuary in New York State said: "I want to educate kids about their relationship with the environment, animal food and the ecological order."
The Sun, London
September 19, 1991
POWERFUL MEAT SPEECH
Although the picture of our anti-meat demo (NOW, July 5-11) was great, the caption beneath it was somewhat misleading. Geoffrey Giuliano's contribution to our protest took the form of a speech - a very powerful and dynamic speech. These days, the former Ronald McDonald and Marvelous Magical Burger King prefers to appear as himself - a successful rock biographer and a crusader for vegetarianism.
Now Magazine, Toronto
Ronald McDonald has turned his back on meat
He holds a Master's degree in acting, is a member of Equity and has played many roles through the years - as a courier in the Elizabethan Court (at Studio Arena), Mr. Goldstone in "Gypsy" (at a dinner theater in St. Petersburg, Fla.), even Buddha (in London) where he appeared in "Siddharta" with Who guitarist Pete Townshend.
But Lockport resident Geoffrey Giuliano's most successful parts have always been commercial. He has played both Ronald McDonald and the Marvelous Magical Burger King.
Those last two roles took talent: Giuliano has been a vegetarian for almost 20 years.
Now, completely divorced from the burger industry, Giuliano is giving a major address at the sixth annual Vegetarian Food Fair in Toronto next week sponsored by the Toronto Vegetarian Association. His speech will be called "Confessions of a Corporate Clown."
It's quite a change of pace. While making appearances for Burger King, Giuliano donned a medieval costume complete with a red beard and scepter. He sang a bit and danced and did magic tricks throughout New England, even appearing at Rose Kennedy's 90th birthday party. "I blew them away," he recalls.
"What you probably don't realize is that all Burger Kings sit around the campfire at night and dream of being Ronald McDonalds. "It's a great leap up the corporate ladder." Further fast-food adventures lay ahead.
Giuliano became a Canadian Ronald McDonald in 1980, hired by Vickers and Benson Ltd., an advertising company in Toronto. He was thrilled. "They are very particular who they hire," he explains. "What if you were a child molester, a drug addict or even - God forbid - a vegetarian? I never told them my secret. "But I had eaten my last meat - a Big Mac, in fact - in Tampa, Florida, in 1972."
As Ronald, he says, life was good. Giuliano made personal appearances and opened new restaurants, presenting "The Ronald McDonald Safety Show." He also earned $50,000 a year, had a big office, a bigger expense account and the services of a corporate chef. "The people who run McDonalds don't actually eat the stuff," he explains. "They leave that to the kids. The chef used to bring out the biggest shrimp I ever saw. They looked like chicken legs, for heaven's sake."
Vegetarian: Not into the role There were other perks. "Women would offer themselves to me," Giuliano says. "I actually had groupies who followed me from gig to gig." It only took a year and a half, though, for things to sour. Giuliano saw a memo on a manager's desk detailing the fact that the real purpose of Ronald McDonald was "to increase awareness of McDonalds' products, goods and services within the school system."
He claims he was shocked. "I thought the purpose of the safety show was to help little children, to prevent them from being hurt," he says. Giuliano spoke up about his feelings. One thing led to another. And, "they gave me a Golden Handshake. They said I was just not 'Mc-Donaldized enough'."
Inspired perhaps by the former Marlborough Man who now talks about the evils of smoking under the auspices of the American Cancer Society, Giuliano decided to go public. "I said to myself, 'If I die today, what kind of legacy have I left?' "It was time to clean up my karma if you want to talk in hippie terms. Or to make atonement if you are Catholic."
So in his Toronto speech he will talk about "crumbs of compassion." He's also created a brand-new clown character - as yet unnamed - who will be "the antithesis of Ronald McDonald and educate kids about their true relationship to the environment, their animal friends and each other as neighbors in a dreadfully victimized overburdened planet." He wants to present this show in schools. Giuliano is enthusiastic about the new path his life is taking.
"I've been an actor since I was 12 though my greatest success has been as a writer," he says. He is the author of several successful books, published in 14 countries, about contemporary music personalities. Born in Olcott Beach 37 years ago, he graduated from Brockport State College, is married and has four children. "My philosophy is simple," he says. "I am not a fanatic. It think I can convince anyone not to eat meat. After all, man is an omnivore; he can subsist as well on fruit, vegetables and whole grains as well as meat."
He says every day more information comes out that proves vegetarianism is healthy. "It helps us to avoid cancer and heart disease. "It also helps eliminate environmental damage. Cows need room to graze. A meat-based diet contributes to the destruction of the rain forests, ozone layer depletion, global warming and water pollution."
A spokesman for McDonalds of Canada was quick to explain Giuliano had never been an employee of that company. "He was hired by Vickers and Benson," said Simon Halls, communications supervisor. "But Mr. Giuliano has spoken in the past about other issues in Toronto and we believe everyone has a right to his own opinion and to make his own choices. We are happy he is addressing the vegetarian issue, in fact.
"We welcome vegetarian customers and we can certainly help them. We are constantly broadening our menu to include salads, fish, chicken and vegetables," said Halls.
Giuliano will speak at 2 p.m. Sept. 15 at York Quay Centre 235 Queen's Quay West, Harbourfront, Toronto. The Food Fair will be held Sept. 15-16 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The program also includes cooking demonstrations, a vegetarian barbecue, exhibits, films and live music. Admission is free.
The Buffalo News Lifestyles
A Letter from Geoffrey Giuliano-
Dear Concerned Citizen,
For almost two years I went against everything I ever believed in by selling out to the McDonald's corporate juggernaut by playing RONALD McDONALD to thousands of innocent, trusting children.
Prior to that, I am sorry to say, I also portrayed THE MARVELLOUS MAGICAL BURGER KING in the Northeastern United States doing a children's magic show promoting the glories of meat eating for the Burger King Corporation.
Ten years later, I now realize I have a debt to parents and children everywhere to try and present the truth about the wonderful vegetarian lifestyle to which I owe so much. Toward that end I have developed a brand new show to gently educate kids about their true relationship to the environment, their animal friends, and each other, as neighbours on a dreadfully victimized over-burdened planet.
This show (complete with music, magic and fun) is my way of saying sorry for selling out so blatantly to concerns who make their millions off the murder of countless animals and the exploitation of children for their own ends. Although moderate expenses are expected from sponsors, this is a not-for-profit scheme centered on showing young people the peaceful alternatives of the natural, healthful, vegetarian way of life.
Peace & Love,
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