Court rules Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala’s anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying performances are not protected by free speech.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday against the controversial French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, deciding that freedom of speech did not protect “racist and anti-Semitic performances,” AFP reports.
Dieudonne, as he is commonly known, was protesting a fine he received from a French court in 2009 for inviting a Holocaust-denier on stage.
He was fined 10,000 euros ($11,000) for what that court referred to as “racist insults.”
Dieudonne argued the fine amounted to an infringement of his freedom of speech.
During a show in December 2008, Dieudonne appeared on stage with Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson at the Zenith theatre in Paris and presented him with an award.
He later defended himself in court, saying: “It was very funny.”
The French judges disagreed, ruling the show had “crossed very far over the line of what is acceptable in humor.”
The European Court’s judges ruled that Dieudonne’s invitation to Faurisson was neither “satire nor provocative” but “a demonstration of hate and anti-Semitism.” It amounted to “Holocaust denialism,” the Court added.
The Court’s judgement is final.
Dieudonne has been repeatedly convicted in France on anti-Semitism charges, and openly campaigns against the “Zionist lobby” which he claims is controlling the world.
He popularized a hand gesture known as the “quenelle”, which was criticized for resembling a Nazi salute and is regularly used by anti-Semites in Europe and elsewhere to avoid hate crime laws. It went viral in 2013 and was used by French footballer Nicolas Anelka during goal celebrations.
The European Court of Human Rights has a record of strongly condemning anti-Semitism and Holocaust-denial.
It is not the only case Dieudonne has pending at the court, with a hearing due in the coming months over the decision by French authorities to cancel three of his shows in January 2014.