September 29, 2009

Dole’s letter to Swedish parliament members

Filed under: News — admin @ 8:44 pm

Update: read longer interviews with Mats Johansson and Luciano Astudillo at (in Swedish). For a translation by Google, click here.

Parliament members Mats Johansson and Luciano Astudillo have invited director Fredrik Gertten to screen BANANAS!* in the Swedish parliament on October 1.

Following a press release about the meeting, Michael Carter, Executive Vice President of Dole, sent a letter to Johansson and Astudillo. In the letter, Carter provides Dole’s perspective on BANANAS!* and “a more complete understanding, given the October 1 screening”.

Excerpt from the letter:

“Dole is a strong believer in freedom of speech, but the filmmakers acted irresponsibly when they released a knowingly false film. Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the free speech rights entail a duty to act responsibly and avoid making knowingly false statements. As the great scholar Alexander Bickel once said, the First Amendment requires those who invoke it to exercise “self-discipline and self-restraint” to avoid disseminating false information. But the BANANAS!* filmmakers abdicated any sense of responsibility, self-restraint, or self-discipline when they released this film despite knowing its entire premise has been ruled to be a fraud on Dole and California’s courts. As the United States Supreme Court has ruled, “[T]there is no constitutional values in false statements of fact.”

Download the full letter » (PDF)


After the screening on October 1, a panel discussion will be held about the limits of freedom of speech and artistic responsibility. In addition to Gertten, Astudillo and Johansson, the panel includes Percy Bratt, free speech lawyer and chairman of The Swedish Helsinki Committee for human rights.

From the press release, September 17, 2009:

In a statement related to the screening, parliament member Mats Johansson writes: “For me as a former journalist and publisher the "BANANAS!*" case is of great political importance. The freedom of speech is central to an open society, and must be protected all over the world. The outcome of the process is crucial for the future in a global context, which is a new situation to Swedish standards.”

Parliament member Luciano Astudillo states: “I strongly disapprove with Dole’s attempts to silence BANANAS!*. This is an attack on freedom of expression, which is a fundamental part of any open society. A major company should respect the freedom of speech and the independence of filmmakers.”

The meeting will be held on Thursday, October 1, 13-16 PM
Venue: Mittpoolen, entrance: Riksgatan 2, Stockholm

The meeting is open to journalists (the date for prior notification has passed).

Read the full press release about the meeting »


Read more about Dole’s lawsuit and our Anti-SLAPP motion and Cross-Complaint:



  1. I believe you can beat this so hold on. Still, I also believe that the only way you can really set an example in this case is to release your film on the Internet. Is freedom of speach worth the freedom for people to see your movie?

    Comment by Gustav — October 1, 2009 @ 6:12 am

  2. Believe it or not but the American constitution is not globally valid. Most countries have a functional constitution of their own. The Swedish has its root from 1634 with necessary amendments for a modern and open society. The Swedish people are of course grateful for the interest from American layers for our need of freedom of speech but is it really any money in it for them?

    Comment by Laila Wold — October 1, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  3. […] travelling around the world leaving Dole Food Co. in big trouble. The corporation’s responds is a letter to the Swedish parliament members saying that the documentary’s accusations are false. Whether the accusations are true or false […]

    Pingback by BANANAS!* The Power of Documentary and Social Media « — October 1, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  4. Keep up the good work. Personally, I won´t buy any Dole products until their top officials show reliable footage of themselves using DBCP in their vegetable gardens.

    Comment by Jarl Ankarhem — October 2, 2009 @ 10:59 am

  5. It’s called Corporate Social Responsibility. If Dole is so concerned about their reputation, why don’t they join the the UN Global Compact or sign the Global Reporting Initiative? There is no need to be defensive when you are utterly transparent to world.

    Comment by Kit — October 9, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  6. […] Dole’s letter to Swedish parliament members […]

    Pingback by BANANAS!* under fire – a timeline | BANANAS!* — October 21, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

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