On July 7th, 2009, shortly after the world premiere of Fredrik Gertten's Bananas!*, Dole fruit company filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against WG Film, Gertten and producer Margarete Jangård. The lawsuit claimed that the film defamed Dole.
It was 5 years ago today, after a long and exhausting fight, that a LA judge ruled in favor of WG Film. The case and subsequent film Big Boys Gone Bananas!*, did not only serve to defend Bananas!*. It was a fight to defend freedom of speech and more importantly, to make sure that in the US and globally, the story of the Nicaraguan bananas farmers would be heard.
Bananas!* and Big Boys Gone Bananas!* continue to screen, now having played in over 80 countries. The sale of FairTrade bananas and products in general has skyrocketed across the world. In Sweden, FairTrade banana sales increased by 600% between 2010 and 2014. FairTrade Sweden CEO Morgan Zerne praised all media attention that is putting a human face behind the fruit sold in our supermarkets, where the film Bananas!* is a good example.
The lawsuit is settled, the films have been seen, but the work is not done! Dole still thrives as the "world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables" and behind much of the fruit on our grocery store shelves is the mistreatment of human beings. Do your part by continuing to buy FairTrade and encouraging others to as well!