Japan deports star of documentary on dolphin killing

TOKYO - The star of an Oscar-winning documentary that shows how dolphins are hunted in a Japanese village was deported to the U.S.

See Full Article

on Friday after Tokyo airport officials barred his entry and he was held in detention for more than two weeks.

Ric O'Barry said he was determined to come back to Japan and keep fighting to save the dolphins, working with Japanese people.

"The work will continue," he told The Associated Press from aboard his plane. "Taking me out of the picture won't stop it."

Japan's government rejected an appeal of a decision by immigration officials to deny O'Barry entry, according to his lawyer, Takashi Takano.

O'Barry, 76, had been held in a detention facility at Tokyo's Narita airport since he landed on Jan. 18. He and his lawyer said officials accused him of lying during his past visits to Japan. He denies that, and said he is a tourist who came for dolphin watching.

O'Barry starred in "The Cove," which won the 2009 Academy Award for best documentary. In it, dolphins are herded by fishermen into a cove in Taiji, Japan, and speared to death, turning the waters red with blood.

As the dolphin trainer for the "Flipper" TV series, O'Barry has long felt responsible for dolphin shows and aquariums. He regularly visits Taiji.

"They are trying to shut me up. But they are creating a tsunami of attention for this issue," he said earlier this week from the detention facility.

"It breaks my heart to be deported," he said. "I never violated Japanese law. I never lied to Japanese authorities."

Immigration officials do not comment on individual cases.

Officials and fishermen in Taiji have defended the hunt as traditional, saying that eating dolphin meat is no different than eating beef or chicken.

O'Barry said officials questioned him daily in what he described as an effort to get him to fall for trick questions and end up confessing to wrongdoing.

He said he felt weak and had not slept well, adding that food at the detention centre did not agree with him so he ended up eating candy bars and chips. He was taken to his plane in a wheelchair, flanked by guards, he said.

The lies he is alleged to have told immigration officials were technical, he said, such as initially saying he wouldn't go to a demonstration when he later went, but that was because at that time he had not yet been invited.

He was also initially accused of having ties to anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.

O'Barry heads his own group, Dolphin Project, which aims to peacefully protect dolphins worldwide.

He is working with Japanese in communities that have previously relied on dolphin hunts to help them switch to new types of businesses, such as scuba diving and dolphin watching.

"This is a slap in the face to the freedom of speech," O'Barry said of his treatment. "But this has not shaken my love for Japan."


Latest Entertainment News

  • No laughing matter: When exactly did clowns become scary?

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- His nose was round and bright red, his face as white as a sheet. His mouth was surrounded by an exaggerated smear of red makeup and his arched eyebrows hung ridiculously high on his forehead. Source
  • How Lights, IsKwé and other women are making change in the Canadian music industry

    Entertainment CBC News
    As the Canadian music industry gathers in Vancouver to celebrate the Juno Awards this weekend, inclusion, gender parity and the #MeToo movement will undoubtedly be topics of conversation. In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against EDM DJ Datsik and Jacob Hoggard, the frontman of pop rock group Hedley, as well as lingering concerns over the #JunosSoMale debate of recent years, Canada's music industry is — like many other industries — grappling with how to create a balanced, safe and…
  • Hedley plays final show before 'indefinite hiatus'

    Entertainment CTV News
    KELOWNA, B.C. - Fans of embattled Vancouver pop-rockers Hedley were handing out flyers in support of the band ahead of what could be their last concert in Kelowna, B.C. The group announced they'd be going on an "indefinite hiatus" earlier this month under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations against frontman Jacob Hoggard. Source
  • Taylor Swift gets political with anti-gun message

    Entertainment CTV News
    Taylor Swift, the American pop star long accused of sidestepping politics to broaden her appeal, waded into the gun control debate Friday with a clear message: guns don’t belong in schools. Swift used her Instagram account Friday to throw her support behind March For Our Lives, an anti-gun protest taken up in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. Source
  • Mister Rogers honoured with postage stamp from the US Postal Service

    Entertainment CBC News
    It's a beautiful day to honour Mister Rogers with a postage stamp. The U.S. Postal Service has released a stamp featuring Fred Rogers, the gentle TV host who entertained and educated generations of preschoolers on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Source
  • Remai Modern defends artist whose Indigenous heritage has been questioned

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Remai Modern's director is defending the decision to feature a retrospective of Jimmie Durham's work. The world-renowned artist self-identifies as a Cherokee, but his heritage has been questioned. Much of Durham's work depicts Native American themes and uses materials often found in Indigenous work, like wood and bone, metals, and beads. Source
  • 15th defence lawyer in Suge Knight's murder case leaves

    Entertainment CTV News
    Attorney Matthew Fletcher, left, speaks for his client, Marion "Suge" Knight, right, in a court appearance for a bail review hearing in his murder case in Los Angeles in this file photo from March 20, 2015. Authorities say the high-profile Los Angeles attorney, Fletcher, has been arrested. Source
  • T-shirts, flowers showing support banned at Cosby retrial

    Entertainment CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA - People attending Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial won't be allowed in with T-shirts, flowers and other items that show support for one side or the other. The trial judge issued the ban Thursday. Source
  • Neil Young says 'Paradox' film has a message about a music crisis

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Beneath all the whimsy in Neil Young's trippy new dystopian Western "Paradox" lies a serious message about a "crisis" facing the music industry, says the Canadian rock great. Actress Daryl Hannah wrote and directed the surreal Netflix film, in which prospectors looking for old technology jam on guitars and ruminate on the importance of music and "the seeds of life" in the Rocky Mountains. Source
  • Fire breaks out on Edward Norton movie set in Harlem, 1 firefighter dies

    Entertainment CBC News
    A New York City firefighter died after he became separated from his unit as they battled a fierce, smoky blaze that broke out in the basement of a former Harlem jazz club being used as a film set. Source