Dolphin documentary sparks lawsuit

A Japanese scientist is suing distributors of Oscar-winning documentary The Cove demanding that footage of his interview be removed from the film.

Japanese toxicologist demands The Cove interview footage be removed

A Japanese scientist is suing distributors of Oscar-winning documentary The Cove and demanding that footage of his interview be removed from the film.

University of Hokkaido toxicologist Tetsuya Endo appears in the documentary about Japan's dolphin slaughter talking about research into levels of mercury in dolphin flesh.

Endo claims he did not agree to be interviewed and is claiming 11 million yen ($130,000 Cdn) in damages from Medallion Media, which owns the Japanese rights to the film, and from distributor, Unplugged Inc.

The scientist saw The Cove last year at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan — one of the first screenings of the film in Japan, where it has been greeted with protests and skepticism.

"I am asking the editor to cut my appearance, because it turned out to be very different from a scientific film, I never signed off on the use of my footage, so I want the director to apologize for using it without my permission," Endo said.

Interview wasn't altered, director says 

The lawsuit, filed in July, was recently moved to a Toyko court.

On Wednesday The Cove' s director Louie Psihoyos defended the film, saying Endo's interview had not been doctored.

"He talked on the record at length to us, several times," Psihoyos  said. "He did say the things that he said, in the order that he said them. What we published was the truth, and now he wants to take back the truth."

The Cove's crew worked in secret to document the dolphin slaughter in the Japanese town of Taiji, where dolphins are herded into a cove and killed en masse.

Psihoyos says he wants to leave Endo's testimony in the film, to help convince Japanese not to buy dolphin flesh because it is too toxic to eat.

The Japanese government has warned pregnant women against eating whale and dolphin meat because of toxins such as mercury.

However, the film has been criticized in Japan as anti-Japanese.

With files from The Associated Press