CIJA pleased as ‘anti-Semitic’ comic gets cancelled in Montreal

“It is well-known that Dieudonné’s trademark is not humour but hatred toward Jews,” noted CIJA VP Luciano Del Negro.

French comic Dieudonné is rapidly becoming more famous for his anti-Semitism than anything else. European comedy clubs who once welcomed him are now beginning to close their doors. The Montreal Just for Laughs Festival no longer has a spot for him in its lineup. In spite of the comedian’s increasing marginalization, he still managed to book a four-night run at Montreal’s Corona Theatre scheduled for mid-May.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) immediately became aware of this booking and, as always, had to navigate the delicate balance between ensuring that hateful speech would not be allowed to go on in the guise of a comedy routine and the risk of garnering Dieudonné even more publicity by informing the public, as well as the promoting company Evenko, of the true racist nature of his performance under investigation in Belgium for incitement to racial hatred.

CIJA staff contacted Evenko on April 18 and questioned why the company was providing a stage for Dieudonné.

7

Dieudonné has 7 court convictions to date, mostly for defamation.

“It is well-known that Dieudonné’s trademark is not humour but hatred toward Jews,” noted CIJA VP Luciano Del Negro in a letter to Evenko. “That is why the French courts have on several occasions found him guilty of inciting hatred.”

Evenko responded on May 4 that they had no intention of offering a platform to any form of racism or anti-Semitism, but that they were contractually obligated to the performer. They would however be reviewing their rental policy and expressed their intention to be more vigilant in the future.

On May 10, the National Post ran a front-page story on the event featuring interviews with Del Negro and Associate Director of Public Affairs David Ouellette.  The article also referenced several instances where the comedian was barred from performing in Belgium and France due to the hateful and anti-Semitic nature of his performance.  On May 9, in Brussels, police stopped Dieudonné mid-performance after determining his act contravened hate laws.

On May 11, the Corona Theatre announced that it would be cancelling the four scheduled performances.

“Due to contractual conflicts, the Corona Theatre has decided to cancel Dieudonné’s performances scheduled for May 14, 15, 16 and 17,” said its statement.

CIJA immediately issued a statement, which received extensive media coverage in Canada and France.

“In Quebec, it took some time for the media and the entertainment world to catch up with the controversies,” noted Ouellette. “We are confident now that Dieudonné appeals to a niche audience at the extreme margins of Quebec society.”


Stay Tuned

Keep up with CIJA’s developing stories:
Visit www.cija.ca, become a fan at www.facebook.com/cijainfo and follow CIJA on Twitter @CIJAinfo.

We welcome your feedback and invite your comments.

Leave a comment

Reader comments are the opinion of the comment writer, not Federation CJA

Comments that make false or unsubstantiated allegations will not be published, nor will comments that contain defamatory, inaccurate, rude, distasteful, disrespectful, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented or threatening language.

Comments that use hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge also may not be permitted.

Federation CJA reserves the right to withhold from publication comments that are deemed to be spam or unrelated to the article at which they are posted. Comments that include personal attacks on other people taking part in this website and/or are invasive of another's privacy may also be withheld from publication.

Spelling and grammatical mistakes will not be corrected.