French comic Dieudonné fined for antisemitic stunt

By Jessica Elgot, October 28, 2009
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A far-right comedian who performed an antisemitic stunt which involved giving an award to a Holocaust denier has been fined €20, 000 by a French court.

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, 43, had previously stood for the European Parliament as head of the Anti-Zionist Party, which he formed with Alain Soral, a former member of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s extreme-right National Front.

This time, Paris judges fined Dieudonné €10,000 for "public anti-Semitic insults" and awarded €10,000 in legal costs to the eight organisations that sued him, including SOS Racisme, Union of Jewish Students in France and the J'Accuse association.

The comedian, orginally from Cameroon, was not in court to hear the verdict.

SOS Racisme said: "We are quite satisfied with this decision. This shows yet again that Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala is not a comedian but uses that label to express his hatred."

But lawyer Stephan Lilti, who represented the UEJF and J'Accuse said he was disappointed with the verdict. He told Paris Match: "Dieudonné has been convicted three times for the same reason in 2007 and 2008, and he has never paid his fines."

The groups' complaints stemmed from a stunt during a stand-up show where Dieudonné invited convicted Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson to receive an award from an actor dressed as a concentration camp victim.

He was previously fined €5, 000 in November 2007 for comparing Jews to “slave-traders”. Two months previously, he called Holocaust Memorial Day “memorial pornography”.

He said: “For them, if a child at school is called a ‘dirty Jew,’ they are up in arms. To me, Zionism is the AIDS of Judaism. The Zionists have claimed a monopoly on suffering.”

Dieudonné has also used the murder of Ilan Halimi as material for comedy in his one man show.

After Mr Halimi was murdered, Julien Dray, the (Jewish) spokesperson of the Socialist Party said: “There is an antisemitism embedded in French society, and there are certain people who are symbolic of this.

“I will say it clearly. There is a Dieudonné effect.”

Last updated: 3:42pm, October 28 2009