French comic Dieudonné's London show axed for antisemitic joke

Dieudonné campaigning in this year’s Euro elections with his range of  “enemies”, including an Orthodox Jew, on his election poster

Dieudonné campaigning in this year’s Euro elections with his range of “enemies”, including an Orthodox Jew, on his election poster

A theatre has cancelled a planned performance by an anti-Zionist French stand-up comedian after he was fined by a court for making antisemitic jokes.

Dieudonné M’bala M’bala had been due to appear in a one-man show about domestic violence at the Leicester Square Theatre, central London, in March next year.

But theatre director Martin Witts called off the show on Wednesday after learning of the increasing controversy surrounding Dieudonné, which has seen him described as “the French Jim Davidson”.

The Holocaust Educational Trust had earlier attacked the theatre for accepting the booking.

Mr Witts said: “We have cancelled him. He can’t have been that popular, we hadn’t sold any tickets.”

On Tuesday, French judges ordered Dieudonné to pay €20,000 for antisemitic insults after he invited convicted Holocaust-denier Robert Faurisson on stage.

During a Paris comedy show in December last year, Dieudonné’s assistant dressed in a concentration camp outfit and yellow Star of David and gave Faurisson a “satirical award” in what Dieudonné described as a “comedy bomb attack”.

Karen Pollock, HET chief executive, had expressed concern about the proposed performance and said: “Dieudonné has a long history of appalling antisemitic activity. His most recent display shows ignorance and is an insult to the memory of all those that perished at the hands of the Nazis.”

Earlier this year, Dieudonné founded the “Anti-Zionist Party” with Alain Soral, a former member of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s extreme-right National Front and stood in June’s European Parliament elections. Le Pen is godfather to the comedian’s third child.

Dieudonné, a former anti-racism campaigner whose father was from Cameroon, was also fined in September 2007 for accusing Jews of exploiting “memorial pornography”, and a further €5,000 two months later for comparing Jews to “slave-traders”.

Last updated: 5:47pm, October 29 2009