A series of performances in Montreal by a French comedian whose act has included anti-Semitic references has been cancelled.
Quebec’s largest concert promoter pulled the plug on four shows scheduled for this week in Montreal by Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, whose routine has included Holocaust denial and joking praise for Adolf Hitler. He has also been found guilty of inciting hatred in France.
In a statement issued May 11, the promoter cited “contractual conflicts.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs had complained about the comic to the promoter, Evenko, which last week replied that it had no choice but to honor its agreement with him.
“It is well-known that Dieudonné’s trademark is not humor but hatred toward Jews,” the center said in its complaint. “That is why the French courts have on several occasions found him guilty of inciting hatred.”
CIJA added that Dieudonné’s current show, “Rendez-nous Jésus” (Give us back Jesus), has been branded “a long litany of anti-Semitic comments” in the Belgian press. An article in Le Soir in March said it featured Holocaust denial, slurs against the Talmud and said that Hitler was “a nice boy.”
The comic has also given the Nazi salute during performances.
Luciano Del Negro, CIJA’s vice-president in Quebec, welcomed Evenko’s reversal.
“While we support freedom of expression, we have a responsibility to relegate anti-Jewish rantings and all expressions of hatred and racism to the margins of society,” Del Negro said.
This week, Belgian authorities forced Dieudonné to cancel two performances in Brussels. The French news agency AFP reported that police stopped him mid-performance May 9 after determining his act contravened local laws.