Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Attenborough in row over Nestlé funding 'advice' to Mandela
Saturday March 8, 2003
"Lord Attenborough's role as a Unicef ambassador came under scrutiny yesterday after he appeared to try to persuade Nelson Mandela to accept a charitable donation from the controversial food giant Nestlé in exchange for a photo opportunity. Officials from the United Nations Children's Fund will be speaking to the film director and philanthropist about his extraordinary meeting with Mr Mandela, which was captured in a BBC1 documentary. During the meeting, Lord Attenborough seemed to be lobbying on behalf of the Swiss company, which has been criticised for pushing powdered baby milk on to mothers in developing countries and was attacked earlier this year for seeking $6m (£3.75m) from Ethiopia's cash-strapped government. Health campaigners expressed anger at the scenes and are calling on him to consider his position. Despite claiming a close knowledge of Nestlé in the programme, Lord Attenborough insisted he was not lobbying on the company's behalf and had not been paid by it. He said his remarks in the David Dimbleby documentary, shown on Wednesday, were taken out of context."