Anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonne abandons show

Anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonne abandons show

After Paris performance is third to be banned, 'quenelle' inventor says he'll change act, continue to upset people through laughter

Anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, in 2009 (photo credit: AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, in 2009 (photo credit: AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)

PARIS — A French comic who has been repeatedly convicted of inciting racial hatred or anti-Semitism agreed to abandon a controversial show banned in multiple cities.

Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala’s act angered the French government and drew widespread attention in recent weeks.

A Paris performance Saturday was banned by authorities. Several police vans lined the street outside the Paris theater, and disappointed fans gathered outside.

Afterward, the comedian told a news conference he will no longer perform his “Le Mur” (The Wall) act but plans a new show. He insisted he’s not anti-Semitic and said, “I upset a lot of people and I will continue to do so, through laughter.”

On Thursday, a French court banned him from performing in Nantes in what was to be the “Le Mur” debut. On Friday, his show at Tours was also banned.

Dieudonne has derided the Holocaust and popularized the Nazi-style “quenelle” hand gesture.

Several other French cities had planned to ban performances on an intended national tour by Dieudonne following a recommendation by the interior minister of France to the country’s mayors.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls in a circular last Monday sent the non-binding recommendation to French mayors to cancel Dieudonne performances.

“I am calling on all representatives of the state, particularly its prefects, to be on alert and inflexible,” President Francois Hollande told a meeting of senior government officials in Paris on Tuesday, Reuters reported. “No one should be able to use this show for provocation and to promote openly anti-Semitic ideas.”

Dieudonne has been convicted seven times for inciting racial hatred against Jews and is facing an eighth trial for suggesting during a show that the French Jewish journalist Patrick Cohen belonged in a gas chamber. He also is the originator of the quenelle, the increasingly popular gesture in France and Europe that has been called anti-Semitic and a quasi-Nazi salute.

Supporters of Dieudonne hijacked three French pro-Israel websites in a coordinated cyber attack Thursday. The attack paralyzed the websites, and, the website of the French Jewish Defense League, and replaced their content with messages of support for Dieudonne, Le Nouvel Observateur reported.


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