Dole sues "Bananas!" Filmmaker, Alleges Defamation - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Dole sues "Bananas!" Filmmaker, Alleges Defamation

Posted: Updated:
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dole Foods sued a Swedish filmmaker and his film company for defamation on Wednesday, alleging he insisted on showing his documentary, "Bananas!" at the Los Angeles Film Festival after learning it was based on a fraud.

Dole sought unspecified damages and, upon a finding of defamation, a permanent injunction barring Fredrik Gertten from showing the documentary in public again. The lawsuit said the filmmaker has already announced plans to show it at other film festivals and then distribute it commercially.

"To screen, promote, and profit from this film, despite the fact that its entire premise has been adjudicated a fraud ... is the epitome of reckless and irresponsible conduct," Dole attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr., a noted First Amendment lawyer, wrote in the suit. "It cannot possibly be justified or defended. It must stop."

Under threat of lawsuits by Dole, "Bananas!" was shown twice in June with a lengthy written disclaimer by Los Angeles Film Festival organizers who said it did not present a fair and accurate account but was worth showing as "a case study" of what happens when a story changes after a documentary is completed.

The lawsuit accused Gertten of "actual malice" for ignoring a court ruling that the case on which the film was based had been part of a massive extortion plot against Dole by attorney Juan J. Dominguez, the star of the film.

"Bananas!," which has the subtitle "On Trial for Malice," documents the alleged plight of Nicaraguan workers who say they were made sterile by the pesticide DBCP used at Dole banana plantations in the 1970s. It even accused Dole of causing the deaths of banana workers, something not alleged in lawsuits. It was completed before the fraud was uncovered showing that the men were never plantation workers and were recruited to lie by Dominguez and his Nicaraguan counterpart in a scheme that could have cost Dole $40 billion in damages.

Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney has reported Dominguez to the State Bar of California and to federal prosecutors for perpetrating a fraud designed to extort billions from Dole.

Chaney dismissed two pending cases against Dole because of the fraud.

Even after being informed of the fraud, the lawsuit said that Gertten was defiant.

"Defendants ignored the truth and screened this blatantly false film," the suit said. "And just as defendants never contacted Dole prior to 'completing' their film, they likewise refused to consider the court's ruling of fraud prior to releasing it. There can be no clearer case of defamation or actual malice."

Judge Chaney was made aware of the film before it was shown at the Los Angeles Film Festival but declined to take any action because of First Amendment restrictions against prior restraint.

In an interview before the documentary was shown, Gertten told The Associated Press he knew about the judge's ruling, but asserted he didn't see any evidence of fraud.

"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."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

  • Entertainment NewsEntertainment NewsMore>>

  • Investigation says Prince was isolated, addicted and in pain

    Investigation says Prince was isolated, addicted and in pain

    Sunday, April 22 2018 12:16 PM EDT2018-04-22 16:16:13 GMT
    (Carver County Sheriff's Office via AP). In this image made from surveillance video provided Thursday, April 19, 2018, by the Carver County Sheriff's Office, as part of an investigative file into Prince's death, the superstar, center, enters a clinic o...(Carver County Sheriff's Office via AP). In this image made from surveillance video provided Thursday, April 19, 2018, by the Carver County Sheriff's Office, as part of an investigative file into Prince's death, the superstar, center, enters a clinic o...
    Investigative files in Prince's death show that members of his inner circle were growing increasingly alarmed about an opioid addition as his health waned in the final days of his life, and that they sought help. 
    Investigative files in Prince's death show that members of his inner circle were growing increasingly alarmed about an opioid addition as his health waned in the final days of his life, and that they sought help. 
  • Amazon's reveals its Prime service has 100 million members

    Amazon's reveals its Prime service has 100 million members

    Sunday, April 22 2018 9:08 AM EDT2018-04-22 13:08:24 GMT
    (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File). FILE - This Sept. 6, 2012, file photo shows the Amazon logo in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon said Wednesday, April 18, 2018, it has more than 100 million paid Prime members, the first time the company has given out a specific...(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File). FILE - This Sept. 6, 2012, file photo shows the Amazon logo in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon said Wednesday, April 18, 2018, it has more than 100 million paid Prime members, the first time the company has given out a specific...
    Amazon has persuaded more than 100 million shoppers to subscribe to its Prime service as its empire and ambitions expand. 
    Amazon has persuaded more than 100 million shoppers to subscribe to its Prime service as its empire and ambitions expand. 
  • Verne Troyer, Mini Me in `Austin Powers' films, dead at 49

    Verne Troyer, Mini Me in `Austin Powers' films, dead at 49

    Saturday, April 21 2018 5:09 PM EDT2018-04-21 21:09:38 GMT

    Actor Verne Troyer, known for his role as Mini Me in two of the "Austin Powers" films, died today at the age of 49, according to a statement on the actor's Facebook page.

     

    Actor Verne Troyer, known for his role as Mini Me in two of the "Austin Powers" films, died today at the age of 49, according to a statement on the actor's Facebook page.

     
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.