• France's news in English
Ex-FN candidate handed jail term for monkey slur
Former far-right National Front member Anne-Sophie Leclere (R) defended her comparison of black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira (C) with a monkey. Photo: France2/Screengrab

Ex-FN candidate handed jail term for monkey slur

The Local · 16 Jul 2014, 08:26

Published: 16 Jul 2014 08:26 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Leclère was due to be a far-right National Front candidate in this year’s local elections in the region of Ardennes, northern France, but was suspended by the party in October last year after comparing Taubira to a monkey on Facebook.

On Tuesday a French court in the overseas territory of Cayenne, French Guyana, slapped a nine month prison sentence on Leclère as well as a €5,000 fine.

It also slapped the FN with a 30,000-euro fine, putting an end to a case brought by French Guiana's Walwari political party founded by Taubira.

The court went well beyond the demands of prosecutors, who had asked for a four-month jail sentence, five years of ineligibility and a 5,000-euro fine.

Leclère, who was not present in the court, said on Wednesday that she would appeal the verdict.

In a statement, the FN also said it would appeal, denouncing the sentences as "appalling" and blasting the trial as a "trap" as the party was unable to find a lawyer in Cayenne to defend it.

The incident came to light when  France 2 television revealed a photo montage Leclere had posted on her Facebook page, showing a baby monkey, with a caption underneath reading “At 18 months”, alongside Taubira – who is black – with the caption “Now.”

'I'd prefer to see her swinging from a tree'

Leclere published the image on her Facebook page on August 31st last year, before deleted it on the advice of friends, according to France 2.

During a documentary entitled “The new faces of the National Front?”, Leclere was confronted with the image, but defended publishing it, repeatedly insisting Taubira was “une sauvage”, which can translate as "wild animal" or "savage".

“Honestly, she’s a wild animal, coming on TV with that devil’s smile,” said Leclère.

“I’d prefer to see her swinging from a tree than in government,” she added, denying that she or the photo were racist, claiming “I have friends who are black.”

Leclère, who will face a disciplinary hearing, defended herself on Friday afternoon, saying: "I did not make racist remarks even though my comments on television were clumsy."

She said the photo-montage was a "joke" and added: "The photo was posted on my Facebook page and I took it off a few days later. I was not the creator of this photograph.

"I have received several messages of support," she added.

The National Front condemned the “revolting” and “excessive” sentence handed out by the court and indicated that they would appeal.

Story continues below…

“This must be the one of the harshest sentences handed out in long time for freedom of speech," the National Front said in a statement.

Joel Pied of Walwari said Tuesday's court decision was "historic and beneficial".

"A prominent institution of the Republic recognises that the National Front is punishable by law and that it's a racist party. We hope this decision will mark a milestone.

"The monkey slur was one of a series of subtle racist attacks on Taubira last year that the minister admitted had hurt her children.

Not long after Leclere's comments, far-right weekly newspaper Minute went on sale with a cover featuring a picture of Taubira and headlines which read: "Crafty as a monkey" and "Taubira gets her banana back."

In French, getting your banana back is roughly the equivalent of recovering the spring in your step.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available