The Dole Food Company just announced that it was withdrawing its defamation lawsuit against the filmmakers of the documentary BANANAS!*, that screened amidst controversy in June at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
The move by Dole comes directly after two weeks of strong support in director Fredrik Gertten's home country of Sweden. First, members of parliament screened the film and voiced support for Gertten, largely on free speech grounds. Later, two Swedish grocery store chains announced that they wanted meetings with Dole to discuss the lawsuit and a Swedish hamburger chain dropped Dole fruit salad from their menu in protest of Dole's actions against Gertten and producer Margarete Jangard.
In a statement just released, Dole directly references the action in Sweden as the reason for the company withdrawing its lawsuit:
"Dole made its decision in light of the free speech concerns being expressed in Sweden, although it continues to believe in the merits of its case. Dole strongly believes in freedom of speech and expression, which are so important in Sweden and the United States.
"While the filmmakers continue to show a film that is fundamentally flawed and contains many false statements we look forward to an open discussion with the filmmakers regarding the content of the film," said C. Michael Carter, Dole`s Executive Vice President and General Counsel.
Much more about the recent developments can be found at the filmmakers website.