Japanese authorities are fuming after Louie Psihoyos and Ric O'Barry's expose about the slaughter of dolphins won the Best Documentary Oscar at Sunday's, March 7, Academy Awards. "The Cove" follows a group of activists as they struggle with police and fishermen to gain access to a secluded cove in Taiji, southern Japan, where dolphins are hunted.
The film beat out competition to win the Best Documentary prize, but less than 24 hours after the filmmakers lifted their Oscars, Taiji mayor Kazutaka Sangen has responded with a statement, dismissing the film and accusing Psihoyos and O'Barry of disrespecting Japanese customs.
In a faxed statement to Reuters, he writes, "I think it is regrettable that the film presents as fact material that is not backed up by scientific proof. There are a variety of customs relating to food, within this country and abroad. An attitude of mutual respect is necessary, based on understanding of the years-old traditions arising from these customs and the circumstances surrounding them."