Famed Actress Brigitte Bardot Charged (Again) With Hate Speech

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). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. I wrote earlier about the prosecution of famous actress Brigitte Bardot for saying in 2006 that Muslims were ruining France in a letter to then-Interior Minister (and later President) Nicolas Sarkozy. Bardot, an animal rights activist, has been repeatedly hit with such criminal complaints for criticizing different groups. Now she has again been fined for calling the the inhabitants of La Reunion “savages” for their continued sacrificing of animals in religious rituals.

Bardot, 87, was fined 20,000 euros ($23,000) by a court on France’s Indian Ocean island of La Reunion over a 2019 letter in which she condemned the continued sacrificing of goats by the island’s Hindu Tamil population, which she described as “degenerate savages.” She declared that “the natives have kept their savage genes” and referred the “cannibalism of past centuries.” She described the population as “a degenerate population still soaked in barbarous ancestral traditions.”

Her spokesman Bruno Jacquelin was also fined for sending the statement to several media outlets at her request.

France’s then overseas territories minister Annick Girardin called for action after writing her “that racism is not an opinion, it’s an offense.”

I certainly understand the great offense taken from these statements. Despite long favoring animal rights, I view the comments as worthy of public condemnation. However, as will come as little surprise to many on this blog, I view such statements as free speech that should be protected in every country.

France has been a leader in the rollback on free speech in the West with ever widening laws curtailing free speech. These laws criminalize speech under vague standards referring to “inciting” or “intimidating” others based on race or religion. For example, fashion designer John Galliano has been found guilty in a French court on charges of making anti-Semitic comments against at least three people in a Paris bar. At his sentencing, Judge Anne Marie Sauteraud read out a list of the bad words used by Galliano to Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgitti. “He said ‘dirty whore’ at least a thousand times,” she explained out loud.

In another case, the father of French conservative presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was fined because he had called people from the Roma minority “smelly.” A French mother was prosecuted because her son went to school with a shirt reading “I am a bomb.”

Recently, a French teenager was charged for criticizing Islam as a “religion of hate.”

The result of such poorly defined laws in European countries is predictable. A recent poll found only 18 percent of Germans feel they can speak freely in public. More than 31 percent did not even feel free to express themselves in private among their friends. Just 17 percent of Germans felt free to express themselves on the internet, and 35 percent said free speech is confined to small private circles. That is called a chilling effect, and it should be feared.

The solution to bad speech is better speech. In that sense, free speech is its own disinfectant. What has never worked is censorship. Germany has long outlawed symbols of Nazism but the Neo-Nazi movement continues to grow in that country.  Censorship and the criminalization of speech invites people to spend more time trying to silence opposing views than answering them in a free and open society.

27 thoughts on “Famed Actress Brigitte Bardot Charged (Again) With Hate Speech”

  1. Personally I could care less about what happens in France or any other country for that matter other than the one I live in but her words don’t bother me. They are savages. Idiots, sacrificing goats in some inhumane ritual is about as throwback as it gets and I’m surprised you feel the need to voice disdain for her speech while simultaneously and rightfully defending her right to it, while failing to voice disdain for the practice of slaughtering intelligent animals like goats for some archaic primitive ritual that we as a species should have long since grown out of. Fact is she was right. What she said was 100 percent accurate, and i can’t help but think 🤔 your need to voice condemnation of her words while simultaneously defending her right to say them, is somehow motivated by a fear of being censored yourself for failing to be politically correct. Surely you do not think ritual animal sacrifice an admirable practice, or even a remotely intelligent or enlightened one. Yet you can’t seem to help condensing a condemner of it instead of the practice itself which in and of itself is condemnable on every level.

    Just an observation, but I am glad you’re at least opposed to her being censored.

  2. Here in the US, vegans and vegetarians do not fear to use fiery, angry rhetoric against the consumption of meat, dog markets overseas, and animal sacrifice.

    I don’t always agree with the rhetoric itself, but I defend their right to speak their minds. Perhaps Ms Bardot should emigrate to the US, while it still has Free Speech.

    The right to speak your mind without fearing your government is a basic human right.

  3. Henrik Ibsen (An Enemy of the People, 1882- act 4)

    The majority never has right on its side. Never I say! That is one of the social lies that a free, thinking man is bound to rebel against. Who makes up the majority in any given country? Is it the wise men or the fools? I think we must agree that the fools are in a terrible overwhelming majority, all the wide world over.

  4. As free nations move left people get a false security while losing liberty. Eventually they have neither.

  5. Free speech is no longer “in” here either. It is not “woke”. If we do not wake up soon, this country is going will be completely communist very soon. Thanks to Joe, Susan, Obama, etc.

    1. Some on the left AND the right oppose the 1st Amendment’s speech protections. Others on the left AND the right work to safeguard the 1st Amendment’s speech protections.

      “Joe, Susan, Obama, etc.” are not communists. Are you willing to discuss it truthfully? If not, your desire to demonize and disinterest in truthful discussion is part of what harms the country.

      1. “Are you willing to discuss it truthfully?”

        Anonymous, if someone believes they are communists, why do you call them liars? That is not nice. Do you think you should start off your new icon by attacking others? Cherish your new icon by thinking before pressing the send button.

        By the way, they didn’t even say they were communists.

        1. Both parties are missing the message. Did any of them read Huxley’s “Brave New World”, “Animal Farm”, “1984”, listen to Eisenhower’s ENTIRE farewell speech, watch Rod Serling’s “ Twilight Zone”, read Bradbury, Asimov,Rand? Did they take a Civics, World History,American History,Consumer Education, Vocational , Humanities, Lower and Higher Mathematics, Literature, Chemistry, Biology,Anthropology,Philosophy,Language Arts, Phys Ed,Creative Writing, Debate, Journalism, Art History, Music History, Latin, class?

          My daughters, now 30 and 34 had no idea about the Soviet Union, Communism, what it means, how it began. Nothing about Mao, Imperialist Japan, the Civil War, WWI, the Vietnam War, presidential scandals aside from Nixon and Clinton, but not the actual content. No idea how the UN came to be and what it has become.Never heard of the League Of Nations, Trilateral Commission. The Mariel Boatlift, turning away The St.Louis,visible from our coastline filled with Jews fleeing Nazi Germany and sent back to die in Auschwitz.by FDR.The Japanese-American Internment Camps in the US.They do now because I was so stunned, I taught them .
          Fortunately, they did read all of the aforementioned and are well versed in all the subjects mentioned above… with the exception of the crucial knowledge of American,World History, Civics and GovernmentBut having read all those extremely important books, they had no knowledge of why they were so important.

      2. ANON I would say that muslim Obama is a communist Saul Alinsky myrmidom minion. I would say Obama’s hope was to bring US to Communisim and change was to become islam in US.

      3. I’m neither left nor right, but it’s obviously disingenuous to say that there is no difference between the modern left and right when it comes to support for the 1st Amendment. That’s deliberately nonsensical and it says a lot about your character.

  6. Without reeducation camps, silenced speech is hidden speech. The French have an interesting history of resisting tyranny and time will tell if they’ll look to the 18th century, 20th to inspire them, or none at all.

    1. I’m a lefty here. I have no desire to punish anyone for “Let’s go Brandon” or any other legal speech. Your hyperbole is counterproductive.

      1. “I have no desire to punish anyone… Your hyperbole is counterproductive.”

        I just commented on your attack on another while calling him a liar for his beliefs. Were you using hyperbole there? You even put words in his mouth. He didn’t say what you accused him of. Don’t you think he had a right to his beliefs?

  7. For being savages, they have a gorgeous island. They likely have low prevalence of comorbid medical conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, major depressive disorder, suicide, homicide and no COVID masks. These savages have plenty to teach the world, including Bardot who tried to kill her unborn son by punching her womb repeatedly while pregnant. She also requested morphine be administered by her physician, calling her unborn son a “tumor”. Quite the savage!

    1. Estovir, such is the common hypocrisy of such activists.

      I find it interesting how often sex symbols, whose entire career is based upon procreative instincts, do not want anything to do with motherhood, the biological, evolutionary point of sex appeal. Then there is the subset who avoid motherhood like the plague, only to be terribly upset that they’re mateless and childless at 40. Kind of sad, really.

  8. Is labeling White America supremacist and racist or how about referencing “dog whistle” to parents who don’t agree with crt, could this be hate speech in France? Bardot should be allowed to say anything. In the 50’s and 60’s she was a work of art and talk about woodies.

  9. Well they are savages for continuing with animal sacrifice and Miss Bardot should say so, leave that panty waist country and move here. Hate speech is free speech. And that some would seek to ban it confirms that.

    1. Do you eat meat? If so, what makes animal sacrifice the act of a savage, but killing animals for food not equally savage?

      1. Anonymous:

        In some cases, it has to do with the manner of the killing. There are some festivals that are essentially blood baths. Animals are led through streets soaked with blood to have their throats slashed.

        Now, an abatoir in the US can also be a scary place. However, we have laws that govern how animals may be killed. In beef slaughterhouses, there have been efforts made, especially by pioneer Temple Grandin, on making the process less stressful to the animals.

        Take the Gadhimai Festival, for example. It’s the world’s bloodiest festival, occurring in Nepal every 5 years. Many animals collapse from exhaustion or shock. People get into a fervor of excitement, wade into the herds with kukri knives, and just start hacking. The animals die a very painful, prolonged death.

        Then there’s Eid al-Adha, an Islamic festival in which animals are slaughtered in the street. It turns city streets into dirty slaughterhouses. The animals are usually dragged to the ground before their throats are cut.

        Such public slaughters can be quite distressing for animal rights activists. Whether one agrees with it or not, people should be free to speak their minds, even if others find it wrong or offensive.

  10. I think that they’re forgetting the motto Liberté, égalité, fraternité. The liberal traditions of the West are crumbling because of the woke. Who remains to defend the tenets of liberal democracy (classical sense) if not us?

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