Top French Court Reinstates Ban on Anti-Semitic Comic
In a dramatic last minute reversal, the top French administrative court ruled Thursday to uphold a ban on anti-Semitic comic Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala. The ruling overturned a local court decision earlier in the day allowing his performance in Nantes, and came right before the show was to begin.
The local Nantes judge earlier Thursday had overruled the ban of the comic, which was implemented according to the instructions of French Interior Minister Manuel Valls and President Francois Hollande. The ban was previously upheld Wednesday in the city of Pau regarding a planned show in Biarritz.
Valls turned to the Council of State to intervene in the case just minutes after the Nantes ruling that allowed the comic to perform, reports BBC.
The interior minister hailed the ruling as a "victory for the Republic" over anti-Semitism. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault further emphasized that the move "reinforces the government's position" to get rid of "anti-Semitic excesses."
Dieudonne, who has seven convictions for anti-Semitic hate speech, arrived at the theater in Nantes where he was set to perform, and where over 5,000 French had already bought tickets.
Upon learning of the cancellation, fans of the anti-Semitic comedian booed and chanted his name.
Dieudonne recently evoked controversy by making a joke about gas chambers. Referring to French Jewish radio journalist Patrick Cohen, Dieudonne said "Me, you see, when I hear Patrick Cohen speak, I think to myself: 'Gas chambers…too bad [they no longer exist].'" He has also popularized his signature gesture termed the "quenelle," which is an inverted Nazi salute.