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.
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

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Nigel B. from: UK
January 09, 2014 12:40 PM
if you were wondering in which direction this world is hurtling to... now, you must wonder no longer... with Iran appeasement... Arabs all over... hatred of Jews - by such ugly scumbags... we have seen it all before...
In Response

by: Marcus from: WI
January 11, 2014 2:50 PM
Dislike individuals, not the whole of a group. You denounce the hatred of Jews while hating on Arabs? That is blatant hypocrisy. Neither is justified, its just the individuals within the people that cause strife.
In Response

by: Biel Nee from: Essex
January 09, 2014 6:44 PM
Nigel B,

Arabs "all over" where? The middle East? Why is this a problem, they live there!

Personally, I think this world has one too many ignorant bigots named Nigel B.
In Response

by: connor omalley from: israel
January 09, 2014 6:39 PM
Why is it
Jews are always feeling persecuted...real or not. Why has history persistently and repeatedly shown a lack of respect and hatred towards this group of people? Is it deserved? Is it not? I don't know....someone enlighten me.
In Response

by: freonpsandoz from: USA
January 09, 2014 5:39 PM
So, you must have seem his act, right? I haven't. Can you give an example of something he said that he shouldn't be allowed to say in public?
In Response

by: Richard from: USA
January 09, 2014 5:33 PM
Hi Nigel:

Sadly, your post rings true. I'm a yank from the states, but grew up in Wimbledon in the 1950s and 60s. I took the 11+ and did my O and A levels. My family returned to the states in 1968 right after PM Harold Wilson devalued the pound. I was planning to spend some time in London now that I'm retired, but the high cost of living and changed environment in London is giving me 2nd thoughts. I still dream of plaice and chips.

All the best from the USA.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs