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.
23 thoughts on “Famed Actress Brigitte Bardot Charged (Again) With Hate Speech”
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.
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.
Sarkozy has not been President of France for some time… he might even by in jail
I believe Marine le Pen is a she, not a he.
The reference was to Marine le Pen’s father, who is a “he.”
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.
As free nations move left people get a false security while losing liberty. Eventually they have neither.
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.
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.
Lefties here would punish us for “Let’s go Brandon” if they could.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
French are frogs.
Humans who kill animals in the name of religion are itShayheads.
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