French comic jailed for hate speech after anti-Semitic and homophobic jokes
A controversial French comedian has been handed a jail sentence for anti-Semitism, over a routine that also included several anti-gay jokes.
Dieudonné M’bala M’bala was sentenced to two months in jail by a Belgian court for spreading anti-Semitic hatred during a 2012 routine – and also faces a fine of £6,300.
The comedian, who has links to France’s far-right Front Nationale, has long claimed that his routine is an exercise of free speech – but detractors say he uses comedy to spread hatred towards Jews and homosexuals.
The Liège criminal court heard that the comic called Hitler a “sweet kid” and a “joyful braggart” – while rallying against Jewish people. Le Soir reports he also made homophobic comments, likening gays as ‘lusty degenerates’.
Eric Lemmens, the lawyer representing Belgium’s Jewish organisations, said: “All the accusations against Dieudonné were established – both incitement to hatred and hate speech but also Holocaust denial.
“For me this is more than satisfying, this is a major victory.”
The comedian has previously come to prominence for inventing a hand gesture, the quenelle, that has been likened to an inverted Nazi salute.
It is the latest in the long line of convictions for the comic.
Earlier this year faced reprimand from a French court after tweeting his ‘sympathy’ for the Islamic State terrorist who murdered people inside a Jewish supermarket alongside the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
However, it is the first time a court has opted to jail him.