French comic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, inventor of the “quenelle” Nazi salute-like hand gesture, is presenting a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday, over an $11,000 fine he received for inviting a Holocaust-denier on stage.
In December 2008, Dieudonne awarded Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson with a prize at the Zenith theatre in Paris, which he later told a French court “was very funny.”
Faurisson began his career as Holocaust denier in 1974, when he sent Yad Vashem a letter arguing that there had been no genocide of Jews during World War II. He based his assertions on the testimony of Nazi officials such as Rudolf Höss. He testified in defense of Canadian-German Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, and contributed to the “Leuchter Report,” a renowned Holocaust-denial publication. In 1978, Faurisson published “The Diary of Anne Frank — Is It Authentic?” The Dutch-language translation in 1985 already bore the modified title, “The Diary of Anne Frank — A Forgery.” The text questioned various elements of the Diary of Anne Frank, including the use of a vacuum cleaner by the Frank family in hiding.
The French judges disagreed with Dieudonne over how funny the event with Faurisson had been, saying the show had “crossed very far over the line of what is acceptable in humor,” and slapped him with the $11,000 fine.
His attorney, Jacques Verdier, told AFP the case was part of the “anti-Dieudonne paranoia” in the French judicial system. Indeed, the courts have not been especially fond of Dieudonne (via Wikipedia):
On June 14, 2006, Dieudonné was sentenced to a penalty of $4,840 for defamation after calling a prominent Jewish television anchor a “secret donor of the child-murdering Israeli army.”
On November 15, 2007, an appellate court sentenced him to a $5,400 fine for calling “the Jews” “slave traders.”
On June 26, 2008, he was sentenced in the highest judicial instance to a $7,500 fine for calling Holocaust commemorations “memorial pornography.”
On February 27, 2009, he was ordered to pay $56,400 in Montreal to singer and actor Patrick Bruel for defamatory statements, for calling Bruel a “liar” and an “Israeli soldier.”
On March 26, 2009, Dieudonné was fined $1,075 and $2,150 in damages for defaming Elisabeth Schemla, a Jewish journalist whom he declared wanted to “eradicate Dieudonné from the audiovisual landscape” and had said of him that “he’s an anti-Semite, he’s the son of Hitler, he will exterminate everyone.”
On October 27, 2009, he was sentenced to a fine of $11,000 for “public insult of people of Jewish faith or origin,” over his show with Robert Faurisson.
On June 8, 2010, he was sentenced to a fine of $10,750 for defamation of the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism, which he had called “a mafia-like association that organizes censorship.” Turned out it was an organization that takes you to court.
On October 10, 2012, he was fined $952,960.42 for tax evasion. According to the French revenue service (via Wikipedia), Dieudonné failed to pay part of his taxes from 1997 to 2009.