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      Anti-Semitic French Comic Asks Court To Reverse Ban

      Dieudonne, French comedian infamous for anti-Semitism and inverted Nazi salute, appeals court to reverse ban on his tour.
      By Ari Yashar
      First Publish: 1/8/2014, 1:41 PM

      Dieudonne
      Dieudonne
      Reuters

      Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, the French comic who has been creating an uproar with his anti-Semitic material, asked a court Wednesday to reverse the ban on the first show of his nationwide tour.

      Meanwhile, Dieudonne is having trouble in courts, as he reportedly owes 887,135 euros ($1.2 million) in taxes and is being investigated for money laundering.

      Nantes, the location of his planned first show, banned his appearance for Thursday which has already sold 5,200 tickets, reports AFP. The ban has likewise occurred in other French cities, following the initiative of Interior Minister Manuel Valls and French President Francois Hollande.

      "The government ... has issued instructions to ensure that no one can use a performance for the goals of provocation and the promotion of overtly anti-Semitic theories," said Hollande.

      Dieudonne, the son of a Cameroon immigrant and French mother, has been performing anti-Semitic skits for years, but recently caught attention in his efforts to popularize his trademark "quenelle," an inverted Nazi salute.

      The Nazi gesture has raised ire, as Nicolas Anelka, a French soccer player and friend of Dieudonne, made the salute after a recent game. Anelka claimed the move was merely "anti-establishment."

      Meanwhile, NBA star Tony Parker was also recently revealed to have made the quenelle in an interview in the past. Parker apologized, saying he was unaware of the implications and vowing not to make the hateful salute again.

      Dieudonne has also taken flak for a joke about gas chambers. He spoke about Jewish radio host Patrick Cohen, saying when he hears him speak "I tell myself, you know, the gas chambers...a shame (they don't exist anymore)."

      Regarding Dieudonne's money problems, Le Monde reports that public prosecutors launched a money laundering probe against the comic last February, over suspicions that he was illegally sending money to Cameroon.

      The paper added that he owes tax authorities $1.2 million, a claim the finance ministry refused to confirm or deny.