French comedian drops show deemed anti-Semitic

Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:05pm EST
 
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PARIS (Reuters) - A French comedian said on Saturday he had dropped a show banned for its anti-Semitic language, and was planning one that would cause no objections.

On Friday, France's highest administrative court upheld a ban on a show by the black comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala in the central city of Tours, days after it was also banned in the western city of Nantes.

Dieudonne said in a statement that his lawyers would continue to defend the banned show in court, and that his new show, about Africa, would have none of the language that the courts found objectionable.

"We live in a democratic country and I have to comply with the laws, despite the blatant political interference. As a comedian, I have pushed the debate to the very edge of laughter," Dieudonne said in a statement on French television.

Dieudonne, 46, has been repeatedly fined for "hate speech", and local authorities in several towns have barred his shows as a threat to public order.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls has urged local authorities to take a hard line in determining whether or not to ban the show. Dieudonne had been due to perform in the city of Orleans on Saturday, but the show was cancelled by a local court following a request by the mayor.

Jacques Verdier, one of Dieudonne's lawyers, told the television channel iTele that the new show would not run foul of the courts.

"Let him work now," he said.

Dieudonne's lawyers have repeatedly said the bans infringe his right to freedom of speech.   Continued...

 
French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, also known as just "Dieudonne", attends a news conference at the "Theatre de la Main d'or" in Paris January 11, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes