• Sweden's news in English

Swedish MPs back filmmaker's battle with US food giant

David Landes · 1 Oct 2009, 17:37

Published: 01 Oct 2009 17:37 GMT+02:00

The film, Bananas!*, is billed as “The film Dole doesn’t want you to see” and depicts efforts by Los Angeles trial lawyer Juan Dominguez to represent fruit workers allegedly made sterile after Dole sprayed them with a banned pesticide.

Dole recently filed a lawsuit against Fredrik Gertten, the Swedish filmmaker behind the movie, claiming the film is inaccurate and defamatory toward the company.

The food giant was also successful in blocking a previously scheduled screening of the film in Los Angeles.

Dole’s actions caused two Swedish parliamentarians, Mats Johansson of the Moderate Party and Social Democrat Luciano Astudillo, to schedule a screening of the film in a show of support for Gertten.

Following the showing, a petition circulated through the packed house urging Dole to drop their lawsuit.

Among those in attendance was attorney Percy Bratt, current chair of the Swedish Helsinki Commission, who expressed his support for the film and its creators.

“It’s not just hot air or empty rhetoric from my side. We can’t accept that filmmakers are silenced in this way,” he told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“Besides, the film is really good and gives the underprivileged a chance to have their criticism of a big company heard, so this is really about the heart of freedom of speech, one of the most sacred parts of our constitution, and something that all politicians, lawyers, and journalists need to support.”

In its lawsuit, Dole requests that the Bananas!* be banned and that Gertten be prohibited from commenting on the company, a set of demands that Moderate Riksdag member Hans Wallmark finds hard to accept.

Story continues below…

“It’s not even about Dole,” he said of the film to DN.

“But through their lawsuit against the films creators Dole has done itself a disservice.”

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

20:27 October 1, 2009 by Atlas
The best PR ever: Company sues filmmaker, his film gets prime time everywhere and it's practically free on news around the world :).

No money could have done that better.
21:01 October 1, 2009 by mkvgtired
Wow what a surprise, the article (or probably the film) does not mention how the law firm recruited as many people as they could to testify in court (to increase the class action status, and the payout). Or how they had South American doctors file fraudulent reports on their behalf. Or how it was found out the law firm coached the workers to lie under oath to gather sympathy. Oddly all these facts are missing. Dont get me wrong companies' actions have hurt employees (usually in the poorer parts of the world) but it is disgusting how these sleazy law firms fraudulently increase the "victims" just to increase the settlement payout.

The same thing will happen with the Shell lawsuit. Hundreds (if not thousands) of people will be gathered to testify. Many will have never been harmed by the company, but the promise of free money will lure them, and the law firm will get extra tens of millions of dollars, all for a little white lie. No one gets hurt, well except those working for the company who are laid off due to the financial strains, oh and the workers that actually WERE harmed and have to accept a much smaller settlement due to the freeloaders. Sick that this movie promotes this.
21:26 October 1, 2009 by frey
i wish i could see the film, but i guess in the us business interests come first, just like a colonial trading company should be run.
04:39 October 2, 2009 by crunchy2k
Comment: Hmmm... What we have here is a film that was made to bolster a frivolous lawsuit by a sleazy L.A. tort lawyer, Juan Dominguez. We have a court ordered injunction from the California judge that tossed the frivolous case out.

From the letter sent to the Swedish MPs from Dole Foods:

[Bold type added]

Bananas trailer posted before the bottom fell out from under sleazy tort lawyer Juan Dominguez and his tool, Fredrik Gertten... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VYPQ6jJKWY
11:43 October 2, 2009 by bubbagump
So the govt. can support journalists, but not criticize. Interesting. If the excuse by Rhiney was that the govt. can't interfere one way or the other, how is it they are wading into this issue. Typical, typical, typical. Can't have your tårta and eat it too.
00:06 October 3, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Bingo Bubba.

The blatanty hypocrisy is amazing. I guess being smug is what matters most.
22:58 October 3, 2009 by DamnImmigrant
Right On Mr. Gump!

I now would really like to know EXACTLY WHAT the government's rights and responsibilities are when it comes to the PRESS!

Does PRESS only mean WRITTEN information and therefore the government can say ANYTHING they want concerning the other press media???

Enquiring Minds Want To Know!
11:50 October 4, 2009 by crunchy2k
Well technically, Fredrik is not a journalist but a fiction filmmaker. That's what his contemporaries think. So, it might be okay to support him at the government level. Not smart though. Only Fredrik thinks his film is real and that he is a journalist.

From a story written by Amanda Bronstad at The National Law Journal, dated July 9, 2009:

12:19 October 4, 2009 by crunchy2k
Fixed URL: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202432115420

Text Quote:

"On June 20, the Los Angeles Film Festival provided a written statement to audience members saying that "there seems to be little question that the version of reality that the film portrays does not match the reality that emerged in the courtroom ... Nor, given what we now know, do we believe that Bananas! -- in its present form -- presents a fair and accurate account of Juan Dominguez and the Tellez trial," according to the complaint."
Today's headlines
Eurovision 2016
Eurovision ticket chaos leaves fans fuming
Eurovision 2016 will take place at the Globe Arena in Stockholm. Photo: Per Larsson / TT

Eurovision ticket chaos leaves fans fuming

16 minutes ago

Chaos reigned supreme on Thursday when tickets for next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm were released for sale and users experienced major technical problems with the ticketing website.

Refugee crisis
Five myths about Sweden's refugee crisis
Refugees at the Malmö branch of Sweden's Migration Agency. Photo: TT

Five myths about Sweden's refugee crisis

1 hour ago

UPDATED: Sweden's reputation for openness is being questioned as it tightens asylum rules and border controls. But how much are attitudes really changing? Here's a truth check on some of the more common misperceptions about how the refugee crisis is affecting the Nordic country.

10,000 Swedes tell Google to forget them
Google is assessing almost 10,000 privacy requests from Sweden. Photo: Paul Sakuma/Google

10,000 Swedes tell Google to forget them

1 hour ago

According to fresh data, almost 10,000 Swedes have lodged privacy requests with American tech giant Google for search removals but only around 41 percent have been approved.

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish mulled wine: glögg
Swedish mulled wine served the traditional way. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

How to make Swedish mulled wine: glögg

2 hours ago

One drink in particular keeps the Swedes warm in winter: glögg. The beverage has been a Christmas tradition in Sweden since the 1890s. John Duxbury shares his favourite recipe with The Local.

Swedish party named in refugee ads slams drive
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish party named in refugee ads slams drive

4 hours ago

An international campaign by the far-right Sweden Democrats has been sharply criticized – after they used a centre-right mainstream party's signature alongside their own without permission.

Presented by American Express
The quickest route to UK Eurobonus destinations
Photo: Berit Watkin/Flickr

The quickest route to UK Eurobonus destinations

5 hours ago

Time for a getaway? The UK is just a short flight away from Sweden, and there are numerous great options for weekend away. Here are the top five.

Five weirdest attacks on Sweden's straw yule goat
The Gävle Goat in happier times. Photo: Andreas Bardell/TT

Five weirdest attacks on Sweden's straw yule goat

6 hours ago

An iconic Christmas straw goat that gets torched almost every year in Gävle, Sweden, was erected on Thursday. The Local takes a look at some of the most outrageous attempts to destroy it.

Winter in Sweden
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Sami guide their reindeer in Karesuando. Photo: TT

An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft

8 hours ago

You've seen the city life, Stockholm clubs and Gothenburg streetcars - but there's another side of Sweden, wild and raw. The Local spoke with Peter Siikavuopio, a Swedish trapper living in the far north, about his craft.

Swedish police probe fatal attack in Norrköping
Stock picture of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedish police probe fatal attack in Norrköping

8 hours ago

UPDATED: Police have launched a murder investigation after one man died and another was left fighting for his life in hospital on Thursday following a mystery assault in Norrköping in central Sweden.

Refugee crisis
Poll: Swedes get behind stricter asylum rules
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven visiting Malmö on Wednesday. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Poll: Swedes get behind stricter asylum rules

8 hours ago

At least seven out of ten Swedes support the government's controversial decision to tighten asylum rules, a new survey has suggested.

Five myths about Sweden's refugees
Sponsored Article
Top five UK weekend getaways from Sweden
Sponsored Article
After Paris: 'The war is not only against Isis'
How did this missing Swedish cat turn up in southern France?
Would you eat this Swedish pizza?
Blog updates

25 November

So What Does An Ambassador Do? (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I know that my mum is super proud that I’m an Ambassador. But if you asked..." READ »


20 November

Editor’s blog, November 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, It has been a long and busy week for The Local as we reported on..." READ »

Sponsored Article
How Stockholm solved a startup’s housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Swedish researchers find Ice Age 'missing link'
People-watching: November 25th
Sponsored Article
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
What do Swedes want for Christmas?
GUIDE: How to help refugees if you live in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Beaches, bikes, and buds: studying in Malmö
Mystery ice circle in Swedish river
Sponsored Article
Sweden must combat extremist 'mirage'
IN PICTURES: New royal winter snaps of Sweden's Princess Estelle
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
Stockholm film festival's top movies
Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: the new epicentre of global leadership
People-watching: November 20th-22nd
Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
‘Food choices in Sweden destroy forests in Asia’
Swedish King calls for bathtub ban
Analysis & Opinion
Why you should care about Sweden raising its terror threat level
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Stockholm's best international bars
Is this the best warning sign ever?
Why are more Swedes getting fat?
Sweden's tribute to Paris victims
What is Sweden's sexiest name?
VIDEO: Madonna's emotional tribute to Paris victims at Stockholm gig
Nine of the merriest Swedish Christmas fairs
Sweden cashes in on new kronor banknotes
How lonely are you in Sweden?
Roaming bear shot dead in Swedish village in Uppsala county
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: