News / Europe

French Comedian Drops Show Deemed Anti-Semitic

French controversial humorist Dieudonne Mbala Mbala arrives for a trial at the Paris courthouse on December 13, 2013 on the charges of defamation, insults, incentive to hate and discrimination.
French controversial humorist Dieudonne Mbala Mbala arrives for a trial at the Paris courthouse on December 13, 2013 on the charges of defamation, insults, incentive to hate and discrimination.
Reuters
A French comedian said on Saturday he had dropped a show banned for its anti-Semitic language, and was planning one that would cause no objections.
 
On Friday, France's highest administrative court upheld a ban on a show by the black comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala in the central city of Tours, days after it was also banned in the western city of Nantes.
 
Dieudonne said in a statement that his lawyers would continue to defend the banned show in court, and that his new show, about Africa, would have none of the language that the courts found objectionable.
 
“We live in a democratic country and I have to comply with the laws, despite the blatant political interference. As a comedian, I have pushed the debate to the very edge of laughter,” Dieudonne said in a statement on French television.
 
Dieudonne, 46, has been repeatedly fined for “hate speech”, and local authorities in several towns have barred his shows as a threat to public order.
 
Interior Minister Manuel Valls has urged local authorities to take a hard line in determining whether or not to ban the show. Dieudonne had been due to perform in the city of Orleans on Saturday, but the show was cancelled by a local court following a request by the mayor.
 
Jacques Verdier, one of Dieudonne's lawyers, told the television channel iTele that the new show would not run foul of the courts.
 
“Let him work now,” he said.
 
Dieudonne's lawyers have repeatedly said the bans infringe his right to freedom of speech.
 
Critics say the comedian's trademark downward straight-arm gesture is a Nazi salute in reverse. Dieudonne counters that it is meant to be anti-Zionist and anti-establishment, but not anti-Semitic.
 
“I am not a Nazi, I am not anti-Semitic,” Dieudonne said on Saturday.
 
Originally active with left-wing anti-racist groups, Dieudonne began openly criticizing Jews and Israel in 2002 and ran in European elections two years later for a pro-Palestinian party.
 
The founder of the French far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has said he is the godfather of one of Dieudonne's children, but his daughter Marine Le Pen - who now runs the party - has kept her distance from the comedian.
 
The Jewish comedian Elie Semoun, with whom Dieudonne formed a popular comic duo in the mid-90s, said he did not understand the turn his old friend had taken.
 
“We worked together for 15 years. How did you support me for so long?” Semoun said in a short act on French TV on Saturday.
 
“When Dieudo and I started out together, we were the very symbol of anti-racism, to the point that I forgot that I was black and he was Jewish,” Semoun said. “Too bad, I loved being black.”

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Michael
January 11, 2014 7:02 PM
Wait a minute. In France, there is no freedom of speech? I thought there was freedom of speech in France. You get fined for hate speech? Are you serious? How? The French government has not only vomited Hate speech and promoted Hate against Muslims (Islamophobia) and against Arabs (Orientalism/Eurocentrism), but it's even legislated laws that practiced it. How in the hell do they now have the ground to claim that what somebody is doing is then hate speech? That's like a felonious criminal telling a guy who stole a pack of gum, "what you did was wrong."


by: Anthony tobia from: Ny
January 09, 2014 7:22 PM
What ever happened to freedom of speech? Your doing the same thing your bashing the guy for. You just insulted a group of people. So it's ok to do that to everyone else except for Jews? The world isn't stupid anymore and until you get off your righteous pedestal than you gotta let him say what he wants.

In Response

by: Marcus from: WI
January 11, 2014 2:41 PM
Different country Anthony. Freedom of Speech is a USA thing, not a world thing.


by: Jean-Louis D. from: Paris, France
January 09, 2014 7:18 PM
The court ("Tribunal Administratif") indeed suspended the ban based on stable legal precedence (free speech, say), yet an urgent appeal presented by authorities to the upper level ("Conseil d'Etat") resulted in a temporary injunction to restore the ban. The show was cancelled, and the said Conseil d'Etat will probably have to issue a regular ruling regarding this question (the requested / granted temporary injunction was delivered within a few hours by a single judge bypassing due process etc...). If confirmed, the hastily obtained injunction would revert long-standing precedence, so it would not be suprising to see the final decision fallback to the initial ruling, which essentially said: you cannot ban a show due to freedom of speech etc. but you can / must act when the said speech isn't compliant with enforcable laws.

In my humble opinion, what this 'comedian' utters on a weekly basis is offensive enough to warrant prosecution resulting in hefty fines worth ten times his current backlog of almost 100 K$ in still unpaid civil compensation for past racist public statements.
Unfortunately, our clogged courts are just too slow to deal with the excessive "offense rate" of this douchebag.


by: BH from: Chicago
January 09, 2014 6:35 PM
By the time this story hit the Internet, the French Council of State has already overturned the Nantes ruling and the show was shut down.


by: Anonymous
January 09, 2014 6:08 PM
A black Nazi, fancy that!


by: Frenchgirl from: Chicago
January 09, 2014 6:00 PM
It is the contrary. They confirmed the ban...Check your facts...


by: Sharon12345 from: Syracuse,NY,USA
January 09, 2014 5:53 PM
If this comedian were a Muslim would he take it lightly if jokes were made about Mohammed? The willful murder of 6 million Jews is not a joking event. What next? Humor in crib death? Laughter about plane crashes? Giggles about malnutrition? There is a point where something is beyond offensive. This comedian has reached that point.

In Response

by: Marcus from: WI
January 11, 2014 2:43 PM
All of those things do have jokes made about them. Even the absolute most despicable things can have humor made about them. Even if you are offended it wont stop that some people will make jokes about them, they will joke about everything and anything.

In Response

by: two cents from: europe
January 11, 2014 6:47 AM
Sharon: 'laughter about plane crashes?' There was laughter about plane crashes. Did you forget the five dancing israelis when two planes crashed into the WTC towers.


by: D J Read from: London
January 09, 2014 5:46 PM
Questioning the Holocaust is not anti semetic.
You should Google Cigpapers blog "Holocuast or holohoax" its filled with little known facts about it.
And what does Nigel.B mean by "Arabs all over"


by: Bilal from: USA
January 09, 2014 5:30 PM
So it is ok publish insulting cartoons and insult Muslims but not ok to insult the beloved Jews? Selective Free Speech!!! French are totally shameless.

In Response

by: Jean-Louis D. from: Paris, France
January 10, 2014 8:19 PM
False equivalence: insults are allowed under Free Speech, yet racially motivated hate speeches are not (same in France and United States AFAIK)


by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
January 09, 2014 3:54 PM
If I were to write a second book it would bear the title "On the causes of the third world war in Western Europe and the rise of fascism"

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid