BANANAS!* is getting sued by Dole

July 9, 2009 -  Late Wednesday afternoon,  Fredrik Gertten, Margarete Jangard and WG Film, the filmmaker and producers of the documentary feature film, BANANAS!* were sued by Dole Food Company, Inc. for the screening of the film. The lawsuit claims that the film BANANAS!* – a court room documentary – is defamatory and false toward Dole Food Corporation.

Through their lawyer, Richard J. Lee, Esq. of Lee and Lawless, the filmmakers and WG Film issued a statement.  Richard J. Lee said today: 

"My clients and I believe that this suit is without merit and represents the latest in a continued line of intimidating harassment by a multinational corporation aimed squarely at a small, independent film and its filmmakers.

It is unfortunate that rather than concentrate its resources toward genuinely addressing the acts it admitted to, and was found liable of committing as covered in the film, Dole instead chooses to stifle even basic discussion by attempting to silence the messenger of a message it dislikes.

Moreover, it is appalling that through this action, Dole is attempting to shift the focus away from its own CEO’s court admission that Dole continued the usage of a banned pesticide even after being informed of its harm by its manufacturer Dow Chemicals, and now on to WG Film which captured that moment on film.

It is important to note that Dole committed to suing WG Film without seeing the film.

Dole has touted a judge’s later finding against one of the attorneys in the case shown in the film which did not in fact exonerate Dole or its actions in Nicaragua.

In all screenings of the film which have occurred to date we have disclosed the judge’s findings and put the trial fully in context with events which happened after the completion of this documentary."

Just a few weeks ago, BANANAS!* screened twice out of competition as a special screening at the recent Los Angeles Film Festival.  Dole had sought a court order to block the film’s screening prior to the Festival’s opening in June 2009.

However, Judge Victoria Chaney who presided over that hearing stated to the Dole legal team and the entire courtroom:

“Just so we are clear, I am not in any way going to make, and I will not consider, any request for prior restraint on free speech.  Okay?  So, don’t ask me to go try and contact the film company.  I don’t have jurisdiction over them. But even if I did, don’t ask me for it.” 

BANANAS!* is produced by WG Film  based in Malmö, Sweden, which has also produced notable documentaries including BURMA VJ and FINAL IMAGE.

 


Download the full defamation complaint (PDF) »
Download this press release (PDF) »

22 Comments

Let the truth be known.

No more Dole!
Ever.

It seems that Dole company has a lot of hybris and that they want a silent world!
Please make a film of other fruitcompanies, you will certainly find more.

its sick!
rather chiquita or some other company that i can buy bananas from… you suck

The Swedish folks will now see what it is like to be David and face Goliath. Dole will exert unimaginable pressure in the next few days and WG will back off if they are smart.

I just put Dole on my shit list.

(And oh, it reminds me of what was once written in Blandaren: “Så lättsmält att det smakar skit redan i munnen!”)

There’s something really wrong with a system that allows a corporation to try and pressure someone into silence! Unlimited resources for lawyers against a small production company… But it’s already coming back at them. This process is what’s gonna hurt Dole’s reputation really bad!

The Streisand effect is working for you (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect). You are getting your publicity WG!

Mikael don’t forget that David won his fight with Goliath.

Even more reason to Buy Organic!

Dear Management at Dole

Please prove to us that it is safe for the workers to provide us with Dole Bananas.
You could send your son’s working at the plantation for a few months side by side with the locals.
I am sure that your teen age sons would not mind the cultural experience.

regards
A concerned consumer

Boycott Dole! That´s the only argument they understand!

Dole will not only loose this court case, they will also loose allot of customers. Say no to bananas altogether.

Good idea suggesting Dole management to send their children as workers! Other victims of this kind of agriculture are of course wildlife and the environment. When buying exotic fruit, please make sure it is organic and fair trade.

Yeah it all comes down to Robert Murdoch the owner of Dole Foods who will do anything to keep from paying out these legitimate injury claims from these poor banana workers. It is Robert Murdock the big jewish republican with lots of cash to support arnold swarzennegger´s govt and to have arnold appoint a Judge like Victoria Channey to the bench. Unbelievable. Rest assured that God is the final judge in this case not Judge Chaney and all these culprits to include Robert Murdock the owner of Dole Foods that he will face God´s Judgement.

Dear friends, thank you for being active here. It is very interesting to look into the deeds of David Murdoch. But I would leave his religion out of this. I believe Jews, Christians, Muslims, Swedes, Americans can do good things. And bad things. Let’s try and focus on the important issue here: the afflicted workers in the thirld world and of course our own stuggle for the freedom of speach.

I’m not sure what “unholy” finds relevant about an owner being “a big jewish republican” (sic). Another factor here is that people are parading around as if informed, even though almost no one on either side of the argument has even seen the film (this sounds about as enlightened as the ignorant, self-appointed censorship commissions of the past out to protect us from ourselves). Although there does seem to be a stink floating through the air and a clear attempt at prior restraint of free speech on the part of a paranoid and fearful corporation obsessed with PR (which a judge already refused in this case), a bit of intellectual honesty would be nice. So, who has actually seen the film? What are the exact charges? What is the evidence? And how coherently and convincingly do the filmmakers present this evidence? If you’ve seen the film, please opine. Otherwise please qualify your views if you have yet to see the film. Otherwise you come off as an uninformed internet ranter. Wait a minute — this is the internet, and 99% of people on it are uninformed and prone to rant…so take it all back and shout from the rooftops.

Eh, well, do one about Chiquita! Wal-Mart is squeezing them. Imagine THAT!

How does anyone buy a “banned” pesticide? Why is a company selling a “banned” pesticide? Just stick to Organic! I will never buy Dole again for the mere fact that they are fighting this too hard.

[...] BANANAS!* is getting sued by Dole » [...]

Never back down.

[...] plantations. However, Dole did everything they could to prevent this film from showing including suing the filmmaker for defamation.  Eventually, Bananas! was allowed to be shown, but it is still known as “The movie that Dole [...]

[...] plantations. However, Dole did everything they could to prevent this film from showing including suing the filmmaker for defamation.  Eventually, Bananas! was allowed to be shown, but it is still known as “The movie that Dole [...]

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