In recent months The Cove, winner of the Best Feature Doc Oscar, has reportedly been a victim of organized agitation in Japan, mostly likely due to fishing-industry interests paying goons to stir up trouble. With “two more movie theatres having cancelled screenings,” director Louie Psihoyos has recorded an explanation/response:

“In recent months, protesters with loudspeakers have been shouting slogans at the Tokyo office of Unplugged, the distributor of The Cove, criticizing the film as a betrayal of Japanese pride,” the story says.

“Unplugged said Friday the cancellations at Cinemart theaters in Tokyo and Osaka were triggered by worries about safety of moviegoers and businesses nearby. The Tokyo cinema where the movie was to open changed its mind Thursday after getting angry phone calls and warnings of protests.

“Most Japanese have never eaten dolphin meat. But some believe killing dolphins and whales is part of traditional culinary culture and resent the interference of outsiders focused on species protection.

The Cove screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October and at smaller events in Japan but has not opened to the Japanese public. The Japanese version blurs the faces of some people on screen to lessen the possibility of trouble.

“Unplugged said talks were under way with other theaters to show the film, although details weren’t released.”