Swedish MPs back filmmaker's battle with US food giant
Published: 01 Oct 2009 17:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Oct 2009 17:37 GMT+02:00
Several members of Sweden’s parliament expressed their support on Thursday for a Swedish-made documentary film that is the target of a lawsuit by Dole Foods.
- US food giant sues Swedish filmmaker (10 Jul 09)
- Animal rights activists force restaurant closure (25 Jun 09)
- Swedes back punitive tax on junk food (24 Mar 09)
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.
“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.”