bananskj09-07-09

Dole is suing Fredrik Gertten, a Swedish filmmaker, for defamation regarding his film, Bananas! There was a permanent injunction placed on screening the film, but Gertten ignored it and screened the film twice at the LA Film Festival.

The film documents the case of Nicaraguan plantation workers who sued Dole claiming they became sterile from the pesticide DBCP that was used on the plantations during the 70′s. After completion of the documentary, it was proven that the claims of the workers, and their lawyers, were fraudulent, and the workers never actually worked on the plantation. The lawyer for the Nicaraguans, and the main character in the film, Juan J. Dominguez, created the case to extort money out of Dole. Even though the film was based upon a fraudulent case, Gertten still wants to show and distribute the film. Gertten stated about the film…

“If I saw it, I would publish it. This film is valid,” he said. “I hope Dole will understand it is a legitimate piece of work… I believe in freedom of speech and telling the story as I saw it.”

The work of Gertten should be shown even though it is false, and from the perspective that it is false. While Gertten was filming, he believed that the case was actually true, and was simply documenting it. There are many films shown that are not entirely factual. Plus, it would be really interesting to watch a film that, at first, documents the plight of these workers, but turns out to be a huge extortion scheme that could have cost Dole about $40 billion.

More importantly, a company should not be able to stop a films release because it does not like it’s content. I think the film should be shown simply for what it is.

Should Gertten be able to show the film that he initially believed to be true? Do you think Dole has the right to place an injunction on a film?