French Products Among Region 8 Casualties

March 27, 2003
Posted at: 9:39 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Region 8 residents may recall the United Nations as the scene were the French government first strongly opposed American military action in Iraq.

Since then, as a means of protest, some Americans, including those here in Region 8 are turning their backs on the French with their wallets.

In Atlanta, some people are saying au revoir to French wine. In Manchester, N.H., others are saying adieu to French cars. The same is happening in Northeast Arkansas.

"I'll read the label," Jonesboro resident Cheryl Nichols said while shopping at the local Wal-Mart. "If I feel it has a french label, I won't buy it."

"I'd forget they ever exist," Randall Bailey said. "And wouldn't buy anything from them, wouldn't even acknowledge, wouldn't go there."

So why the big anti-French sentiment in America? There are various reasons, but the biggest according to Region 8 residents: The French opposition to its ally's war with Iraq.

"They are about that far away from being communist," Gene Bruner said. "And I don't like them. I don't like them because they don't back us on this."

"Why should I support something that doesn't support us?" Nichols asked.

While it's true the French government has been a big opponent of military action in Iraq, and had threatened to veto a U.S. backed resolution in the United Nations that would have authorized war, They still have a major economic influence in America.

Motel Six, L'OREAL makeup, and Dannon yogurt are all French owned. French-owned companies also distributed the movies Happy Gilmore and American Pie 2.

*In this story's original form it was written that FINA gas products were French owned. In July 2002, the Texas-based company ALON-USA purchased the FINA interests in America, as well as the right to continue using the FINA brand. We regret the error.