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US food giant sues Swedish filmmaker

David Landes · 10 Jul 2009, 09:34

Published: 10 Jul 2009 09:34 GMT+02:00

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The film, Bananas!*, depicts the “David versus Goliath” story of efforts by lawyer Juan Dominguez to represent fruit workers who allege they became sterile after Dole sprayed them with a banned pesticide.

“I still never believed that things would go as far as them suing me. Dole came with all these threats before they even saw the film,” said filmmaker Fredrik Gertten to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Gertten’s American attorney, Richard J. Lee, criticized Dole’s actions.

“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,” he said in a statement.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in a Los Angeles Court, Dole claims that Gertten “refused to make any meaningful changes to the film, and persisted in publicly screening it and touting its accuracy in the face of court rulings that the story was false and amounted to ‘extortion’”.

Gertten thinks that Dole’s threat has helped boost interest in the film, but at the same time it requires “huge amounts of energy and costs money”.

The suit follows Dole’s earlier but unsuccessful efforts to block a screening of the film on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Film Festival.

“Almost every night I have a conference call with different people and my lawyers in the United States,” Gertten told DN.

Story continues below…

In addition to Gertten, the suit also names his production company – WG Film AB in Malmö – and producer Margarete Jangård.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:47 July 10, 2009 by justanotherexpat
Typical bullies in the school playground.

Greedy, multinational corporations..........they do their image more harm by filing these ridiculous suits!! Oh the irony.
10:55 July 10, 2009 by Marley420
oh banana's...
11:20 July 10, 2009 by Swedecakes
The name has changed, but the fruit is still the same. Pablo Neruda wrote the following poem in 1950, here translated from the original Spanish into English by Robert Bly:

12:41 July 10, 2009 by rybo1
Dole and others like them are simply evil. Gertten's film must have hit a raw nerve in Dole's gargantuan operation. I suppose what got them pissed off enough to file a law suit was something called "the truth", a very rare commodity these days. Anyway, I hope the fat bastards lose big time.
13:49 July 10, 2009 by Random Guy
....now now - silly swede's - keep in mind what happened with TPB. you American overlords don't like things like this - you have no choice - just do what we say or we will sue you to the ends of the earth. that is the way we like it and you have no choice.

..... so please stop crying - we don't like that either!
21:05 July 10, 2009 by DeafJeff
I don't know how it goes in Sweden, but in the US there are way too many civil suits(people being sued). I apologize in advance if I have offended anyone in my attempt to keep it simple. I don't know much about the legal system in Sweden. so I don't know what they call it when someone gets sued over there. Help cure my ignorance. I challenge you! In a friendly way of course. We love Sweden in the US, BTW, especially the ladies.
22:57 July 10, 2009 by crunchy2k
There is a lot more to this story than is being presented. Fredrik Gertten was just a tool used by a Calif. lawyer to file fraudulent lawsuits again Dole on behalf of clients that never worked for Dole. A fact based story is here: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202432115420

Here is the L.A. Times story: http://tinyurl.com/lkxu3n
12:11 July 12, 2009 by kittennipple
This story doesnt actually tell us whether or not the law suit has a valid claim. I am totally against frivilous law suites but I think it is kinda jumping the gun to assume that is what this is. But I suppose most of you just want an excuse to bitch and call someone evil. Makes for a better day, right.
17:24 July 12, 2009 by randyt
There is a reason many poor countries in South and Central America are called "Banana Republics," and that is because of Dole and other fruit companies have the deep pockets to buy politicians in those countries as well as in the USA. All the little wars Americans fought in in the area were wars to promote and serve American corporations and their greed.
19:55 July 13, 2009 by lingonberrie
The true face of America and their corporate world, Wall Street, and their criminal lawyer class, and AIPAC that orchestrates the whole, all of which run their congress and their Landed Gentry Party, who are here revealed for the world to see, once again.
14:01 July 20, 2009 by Alkimos
I do not know the details of this case but I believe it is true that American multinational companies can be nothing but bullies. Also sueing appears to be the favourite pastime for a lot of American people. However generally American people are not all like that.
17:23 July 20, 2009 by skane refugee
... it says in the article that court cases have allegedly found that the film is inaccurate ...

Just because some Swedish whacker spends a few thousand dollars travelling somewhere in the 3rd world, points a camera in the direction of some disgruntled workers and portrays a US multinational to be 'the bad guys', doesn't automatically make him judge and jury on a complex issue ...

... that's what an independent legal system is there for ...

no idea on the details of the case ... maybe he's onto something ... but there's also every chance this Swedish guy is party to an extortion scam as alleged in the lawsuit ...

... though he's probably just another standard issue blinkered svensson utterly lost in the big wide world ... hurrying back to the next yawningly uninteresting Swedish dinner party where he can play the 'holier than thou' game among welcoming Swedes parroting anti-american cliches as an accepted substitute for independent thought ...
17:29 July 20, 2009 by kmbr
it says in the article that court cases have allegedly found that the film is inaccurate ...

Yes, exactly what I said in my post that vanished into thin air. Dole asked him to make revisions that were more accurate. He refused. He refused because he was looking to make a name for himself by releasing a mockumentary meant to rile up the emotions of people who have some odd hatred of corporations.

Yet, these same people love governments and can't get enough of their intrusion into their lives. Go, figure.
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