If anyone needed proof of the power of film – pictures, persistence and some sly camera work – here it is.
"The Hump," the high-end Santa Monica restaurant that was filmed serving whale sushi, announced Saturday it was closing its doors.
The restaurant was filmed by undercover activists organized by the makers of the Oscar-winning documentary, "The Cove." ("The Cove" exposed a brutal dolphin slaughter in Japan, and made use of secret cameras fashioned by Hollywood experts to do so.)
The restaurant, which had a VIP clientele and was based at the Santa Monica airport, faced federal charges for serving an endangered species. Since then, it has also faced placard-wielding protestors outside its doors.
In a message on its website the restaurant wrote a simple mea culpa:
"After twelve years doing business in Santa Monica, The Hump will be closing its doors effective March 20th, 2010.
"The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species. Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The Owner of The Hump also will be taking additional action to save endangered species.
"One such action will be to make a substantial contribution to one or more responsible organizations dedicated to the preservation of whales and other endangered species.
The Hump apologizes to our loyal customers, the community of Santa Monica, and the public at large for our illegal actions. While the current difficulties faced by The Hump overshadow the many friendships formed over the years, we want our customers and friends to know how much we thank you for your support."
Reached by TheWrap, the director of "The Cove" Louis Psihoyos called the decision "great news."
"I know for a fact that sushi restaurants all over America are emptying their fridges of endangered whales," he wrote in an email. " A tsunami of fear is occuring for anyone serving endangered animals at restaurants. It’s a good day for our mammalian counterpart in the oceans. We could not be happier, to me – it’s just as exciting and emotional as winning an Oscar."
Amazing. The entire drama played out over a mere two weeks.