Father Of Conservative French Leader Ordered To Pay €5,000 For Offensive Speech

We have previously discussed the shocking rollback of free speech in France in the name of combating hate and intolerant speech.  The latest fine was imposed on Jean-Marie Le Pen, the father of French conservative presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. His crime was calling Roma “smelly.”  It was an offensive and prejudiced comment but the criminal prosecution of such insults demonstrates the slippery slope that France is now on — a slope that inevitably leaves to greater and greater speech control.  This is the ninth time that Le Pen has been prosecuted for the crime of insulting other people or groups.

Le Pen, 88, was ordered to pay  5,000 euros for a  inciting hate and making racist statements at a press conference in Nice in 2013.  On July 4, 2013, Le Pen stated “It appears you have a problem with several hundred Roma who have an irritating and, let’s say, smelly presence in this city [Nice].”

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have even seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here). Now a recent complaint filed by a professor against Home Secretary Amber Rudd illustrates vividly how hate speech has become for some people an extension of political disagreements. The complaint by Prof Joshua Silver, an astrophysicist, will not result in any serious investigation but it was recorded as a hate crime allegation under the existing standards. We previously discussed the criminal charges brought against a conservative Dutch politician.

The French are now prosecuting insulting name-calling as criminal matters.  Once on that slippery slope, what constitutes insulting language becomes a fluid concept based on changing sensibilities and majoritarian values.  The result is a chilling effect on all speech. The solution to bad speech is more speech.  Many rightfully denounced Le Pen for his comments.  That is the guarantee of free speech — not that people will be silenced but rather refuted in their espousing bigotry.

70 thoughts on “Father Of Conservative French Leader Ordered To Pay €5,000 For Offensive Speech”

  1. So where does the money go that is collected from rude speech fines? An audit would be interesting. Is this just another form of government revenue raising under the guise of combatting prejudice? If so, it’s rather creative. People would be reluctant to oppose the fines, for fear of being denounced as a racist, which allows the government to feed its insatiable appetite for more and more taxes, fines and regulatory fees.

  2. Roma, in France refers to the approximately two million ‘Gens de Voyage’ or people who travel with no permanent residence. They have two representatives in government and outside of most large towns and almost all cities there are areas designed for them to camp seasonally. They typically drive Mercedes and pull trailers. Roma make their living working in seasonal agricultural situations and sometimes can be seen panhandling in town, however, that is typically restrained by the authorities. In the six years I lived in the Nice area in the late 70’s and early 80’s, a region popular with the Roma, I never experienced anything negative nor read about negative impacts of their existence. France is a country fast losing its heritage and the Roma are a integral part of that heritage that date back over a thousand years. The Roma are well integrated in France and other parts of Europe. This sanitization fetish exists on both the right and left extremes. The problems occur when a sanitizer gets into office and emboldens racist bigots to go into bars and shoot people, innocent people, people with far more worth than them selves.

  3. Interesting. I always thought Paris was “smelly” but not Rome. The odor from the Paris sewer system permeates the air in many places as you walk the streets.

    Sounds to me like President Trump would not stand a chance in an election in France. Criminal charges would constantly be popping up.

    I think the concept of Free Speech is the greatest philosophy ever developed by modern civilization. I suppose there is some room for blasphemy laws, but for the most part, man is unable to draw the line properly between blasphemy and acceptable critical speech. It is better to err on the side of Free Speech.

  4. What if people learned to attack bad behaviors rather than individuals or groups of people? For example, verbally attacking white supremacy, racism, and apartheid, is laudable, whether those despicable practices occur in Israel, France, the US, South Africa, or anywhere else. Any culture that condones those heinous behaviors should be shunned by all decent people.

  5. From Wikipedia:

    Roma people
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Roma flag

    The Romani are an ethnic group found mainly in Europe. They are also known as Roma or Roms. In English they are also widely known by the name Gypsies, but the Roma consider “gypsy” a slur. They are a nomadic people that originally came from the Indian subcontinent. They migrated northwest into Europe via the Middle East. Today there are populations of Romanis found all over Europe, although the largest populations are in Eastern Europe.

    Individual groups can be classified into big groups of groups: the Roma of East European birth;[1] the Sinti in Germany and Manouches in France and Catalonia; the Kaló in Spain, Ciganos in Portugal and Gitans of southern France; and the Romanichals of Britain.[2]

    The Roma language is made official by many countries of Europe under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.[3]

  6. Ah, just another benefit of social diversity — mandated speech to avoid even a suggestion of disapproval. Welcome to 1984.

  7. JT: Many of your readers may not quite understand Who was insulted here. You recite the word “Roma”. Let us see a show of hands from our readers as to who or what that refers to?

    Rome: ____
    Roman people from days of old: ______
    Gypsies: _______.

    Gypsies were an ethnic group rounded up by Hitler throughout his conqoured territories including France as well as in Germany and Austria. In France there were French citizens who participated in the roundup or Holocaust. There was a “saying” back in the post world war II days. First they came for the gypsies and I did not say anything cause I was not a gypsy. Then they came for the Jews and I did not say anything cause I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one to left to say anything.
    Or some such.

    Being critical of Roma people is still punished in Germany. Same thing as saying other pro Nazi things or being critical of Jews. There reason for this is to stiffle a new era of Nazi behavior.
    The Frogs were as bad as the Germans in the Holocaust. Their conduct gets ignored by modern historians. We Americans ignored a lot of what they did in the War because we feared they would go over to the Communists and Soviets after WWII. So we prosecuted Germans at Nuremberg Trials but not French (Frogs).

    We need a Holocaust discussion on this blog. We also need to explain what the word “Roma” refers to. We have gypsies in America. Do not hire one to repair your driveway.

    I guess I could not say the last sentence in France and get away with it.

    1. We call them ‘travelers’ in America.
      And they hang out and travel in their clans. They are western civilization original Nomads. They still have a large presence now in Eastern Europe i.e. (Romania) and have migrated as far as Ireland in the last century.
      They are detested for their young brides in some families and they’re
      Breaking of thou shall not STEAL.

    2. That’s where the word “gyp” comes from, as in having been cheated. If you paid a gypsie repair your driveway, you most likely realized at some point that you had been gyped.

  8. The following is an excerpt from an article by Jonathan Turley that will be published in the year 2020:

    We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and hereand here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.)

    Similarly, we have also previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in England (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and hereand here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.)

    Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have even seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and hereand here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.)

    1. Beautifully said. And chilling.
      Unfortunately I will not be able to get the Internet in prison in 2020 after I am arrested and tried for my free speech.
      So I will greatly miss The Professor’s Blog.

  9. The EU just stripped Marine Le Pen of her limited immunity rights of free speech over something she said. They are scared to death she will win in France and there will be a Frexit.

  10. A lot of this movement from Canada, to Holland to the UK to Germany to Sweden and ratcheting it up in France (from ticketing, court appearances and fines) to now criminalising, is to limit free speech with regard to immigrants. Thou shall not speak ill of the precious in-coming, or some such. And, of course, anything else they deem fit to crack down on…

    The French hauled Bardot in several times over the years, forced appearance before a judge, and fines… almost always she said something or other about Muslims, Arabs or Islam itself. I found out some years ago her husband is a German industrialist who is a long time supporter of, advisor to Marine Le Pen. Which explains a lot, in terms of her being singled out. In recent years it has spread, more and more people find themselves in trouble for speech.

  11. Canada is about to do the same m103 Islamaphobia speech. 70 years and I fear for my country.

  12. GB either passed or is about to pass anti-free speech law in Parliament. If a member makes remark whom the Head Cheese says is racist, etc, then the remark is struck from the video, the audio, the record books, and the member suffers some further form of discipline. The TV interviewer asked for specific language in the law, but of course, it’s vague and means whatever the Head Cheese wants it to mean at the time.

  13. Freedom is a word that is used to enable some one or other to get the upper hand – then it quickly shuts down.

    1. I’ll try that cipher…

      “Hail to LePen! As a freedom of speech”

      ???

  14. I guess the majority of people will not miss Free Speech until it is gone?
    Better build a lot more prisons because the only way to stop this insanity is to keep speaking so they have to lock us ALL up.

    1. Marie LePen wants to ban the kippa and headscarves. She wants to deny Jews their dual citizenship with Israel. She is hardly a free speech advocate.

      1. anon – I am against dual citizenship. I think you should belong to one country at a time.

        1. I agree. Otherwise, my DNA is showing from over 25 regions or ‘countries’. And I want multiple citizenship in all of them. It includes Jews and a Roma.
          Am I insulted to be called smelly or whatever, that’s silly.

      2. Dual citizenship is absolutely improper bar for a small corps of affiliated countries (say, the loci which are subjects of the Queen). We have it in the U.S. consequent to shady court decisions. If people wish to take out Israeli citizenship, that’s fine, but they have to declare their allegiance. You might have dual citizenship between France and Switzerland or France and Belgium, not France and Israel.

  15. Not sure I would call Marine Le Pen “conservative.” She’s quite radical and a France run the way she wants would not conserve much. Edmund Burke would not find in her a fellow traveler.

      1. There’s a fine, sometimes indistinguishable, line between fascism and conservatism. Examples abound right here in these United States where if it ain’t broke, why fix it and the smell of pollution is just the smell of success. All news that doesn’t show the fascist leader in a good light is fake news and all news that shows the fascist leader in a good light needs to be at the forefront, exaggerated, with supporting statistics doubled, tripled, yugely.

        1. issac wrote: “There’s a fine, sometimes indistinguishable, line between fascism and conservatism.”

          It is not rational to think that fascism is related to conservatism, much less that there is a fine, sometimes indistinguishable, line between them. Fascism has to do with a philosophy of the collective (society as a whole) being all important, much more important than the needs of the individual. The word “fascism” comes from the biological term fascia, which is tissue surrounding the muscles and holding them all together. Both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler had their foundations in national socialism and democratic movements favoring the labor class. Liberal policies of modern leaders like President Obama with is Obamacare program are much closer to fascism than conservative policies. It places the need of society as a whole above the individual who is expected to sacrifice all he has for the benefit of society.

          Conservatism, on the other hand, while technically referring to resistance to change, usually highlights the needs and freedom of individuals and gives more weight to the individual than the collective. It generally opposes leaders who come into power with sweeping new ideas. Conservatives resisted Mussolini and Hitler just like they opposed Barack Obama, because of the changes they brought about that took away individual freedom and liberty. The opposition to Trump now is because he wants to put things back the way they were (a conservative tenet) and forge forward progressively in a different direction that leads to more freedom for the individuals of society rather than for the collective (society as a whole).

          1. Thanks for explanation of Conservatism. The way it is typically used in the media, it’s easy just to interchange the word with “ignorance”.

            1. Some of us are old enough to remember when terms like ‘liberal’, ‘progressive’, and ‘Democrat’ indicated an adherence to a policy perspective rather than being, as they are now, synonyms for ‘jackass’.

          2. David:

            Great summary – thanks for bringing light to Isaac’s prejudices.

          3. It’s isaac. Let him yammer. It has nothing to do with actual thought.

          4. David. A rose by any other name is still a rose. And, sh*t stinks regardless of what you call it. Fascism is a word that was adopted by dictators and historically is linked to dictators, regardless of what you might find in a dictionary. The essence of American conservatism is to resist change, refer to a past which no longer exists, and as with anyone who recognizes who spreads the butter on their toast, pay off those who would disrupt or enhance these intentions. Fascism ultimately refers to the past and past greatness, illusions of past uniqueness, illusions of past superiority, and the like. You can wallow in the dictionary and tailor your argument any which way you wish. However, history has been available to all for some time. Conservatism in America and Europe, as it exists not as it is described in the dictionary, is more akin to fascism than liberal or progressive positions. Regardless of the dictionary meaning, the liberal causes have been more focused on change, progression, and social evolution. Placing Obama and DDT in the same sentence illustrates a Fox News or Washington Times editorial mindset.

            In this past modern era of politics fascism and dictatorship have been aligned with conservatism, xenophobia, racism, bigotry, illusions of the past, mindless attempts to return to something that if it ever was has no application to today, etc. Ethics, morals, and greatness of the human spirit are not the properties of fascism or the ilk of the conservatives illustrated in America and other countries today.

            To state that conservatism is more interested in the individual than liberalism leaves out the primary historical truth that the I has never been more empowered because of the strengthening and stability of the WE, or liberalism and social evolution. Mankind has been evolving away from the illusion of Daniel Boone and John Wayne toward the reality of the stability of a social system that eliminates chaos and at the same time permits self expression, be it material or other. DDT has no interest in more freedoms for individuals. DDT based his entire campaign and continues to preach the illusions of the big stick with promises of that which is and will always be out of reach for 99% of Americans. The American system of government includes a royal figurehead, the Presidency. There is no country in the family of democracies that has this position in their government. A king is synonymous with the illusion of superiority and restrictive but sometime benevolent rule. “I and I alone….”

            Make America Great Again is closer to the fascist cries of Hitler than anything any liberal has stated. The singling out of America and combining it with Again evokes the same mindset that was tapped when Hitler spoke to the downtrodden and embarrassed Germans of their glorious past and origins-real or imaginary, the past that did not include those who thought ‘otherwise’. There are the words and then there is the spirit of the words. Then there is the expression of those in power. DDT has just moved to increase spending on a military that is greater than all other militaries combined at the expense of safeguards for the ALL, the WE. The US military needs only redistributing of resources to adapt to today’s struggles. A 20% reduction in military spending coupled with an efficient redistribution of assets would still see the US as the final word in military force. DDT has moved to decrease taxes which would primarily benefit, (85% of the money returned to taxpayers through his tax cuts) the top 5%. Take a moment and review his appointments and then revisit his claims to drain the swamp of oligarchs and insiders. There has never been a greater hypocrisy.

            The primary instrument of a fascist dictator is control of the facts and manipulation of truth. DDT has lied relentlessly since his start. Crime is at its lowest in 45 years, not its highest. The pipeline will produce 3,500 jobs not 40,000. Illegal immigration across from Mexico has been on a steady decline for years. Drugs coming into the US from Mexico half of what it was. Obama has targeted and deported over a million illegals with criminal backgrounds without turfing out mothers and breaking up families. His Dad underwrote his first project to the tune of 70mil-DDT did not make it on his own and knows nothing of the average worker. DDT was born into a world of wealth, connections, advantages and has been and remains entirely financed by the uber wealthy. DDT claims savings and jobs increases that have had absolutely nothing to do with him, that were begun when he was a joke. I could go on, but have other stuff to do. Take some time to open your eyes to other than denotative meanings of words that have been bent and torn throughout the ages.

          5. Very 👁 opening, David. That is how I have always imagined it, as well. At least in my heart. You have put words to my feelings. This country has always represented, to me, that one can do anything if they have perseverance, ambition and drive. Liberalism kills that. That is why so many people sit with their hand out and don’t contribute to society. There comes the time when the majority of the population has a hand out and then we become France. Sorry, France, please pass the American fries.

          6. Historically speaking, drawing from events in the twentieth century, the conservative governments of the world were allied with the fascists at first using the threat of communism as the reason. It comes down to the question of socialism against capitalist oligarchs. In the US we have a capitalist oligarchical system presenting itself as a democracy. The socialism in this system exists both between the government and the private sector in the form of subsidies and special interest control as well as on the side of unions and the much maligned by the right, leftist movements. The ‘leftist’ movements tend to work for society in general promoting environmental, social, educational, health, and other common concerns. The right wing movements tend to rely on illusions of individual responsibilities as they argue for less to no restrictions for the top five percent. In reality the only people who benefit from reducing regulations are those at the top. The vast majority of the population benefit from the left wing movements. This is illustrated in the more successful democracies, where there are multiple political parties and less polarity between left and right. If the US were to abolish all concentrated financing of political campaigns and restrict, as do the more democratic nations, funding to a maximum per registered voter, perhaps we would one day have a true democracy instead of this oligarchical duopoly.

        2. issac – I know you were educated in Canada, but even there they should have taught you that fascism is socialist. The red on the Nazi flag represents socialism.

        3. A main part of fascism is government controls over privately owned property and industries. Many “liberals” are fascists because they push for more and more government controls. (And the ones who want government takeovers and ownership of property and industries are socialists.)

          And Donald Trump is a fascist who favors government controls, such as government-controlled trade (rather then free trade), government-controlled health care (no, he does not favor free market health care), and government-controlled labor and employment especially when it comes to the immigration issue.

      2. ‘Fascist’ is progtrash speak for ‘favors enforcing immigration laws’.

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