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MADONNA

‘France feels like Nazi Germany,’ says Madonna

Rebounding from her stage tumble at the Brit awards, pop star Madonna told French radio Thursday that "intolerance" was now so high in France and Europe that "it feels like Nazi Germany."

'France feels like Nazi Germany,' says Madonna
Madonna says that France and Europe feel like Nazi Germany. Photo: AFP

Speaking to Europe 1 radio in an interview to be aired Friday morning, Madonna said "anti-Semitism is at an all-time high" in France and elsewhere in Europe, and likened the current atmosphere to the period when German fascism was on the ascent.

"We're living in crazy times. It feels like Nazi Germany," the 56-year-old singer said, calling the situation "scary," and lamenting what she described as France's lost tradition of welcoming diversity and honouring freedom.

"It was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form — artistic expression of freedom," Madonna said. "Now that's completely gone.

"France was once a country that accepted people of colour, and was a place artists escaped to, whether it was Josephine Baker or Charlie Parker."

In fact, Charlie Parker only visited France briefly to play concert engagements, and unlike jazz legends such as Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and Dexter Gordon, never took up French residency.

The globally-acclaimed entertainer also spoke out in 2012 when she denounced the rise of xenophobia and extreme-right parties in Europe.

The diva said her earlier comments were made when "I was receiving a lot of criticism and threats from Marie (sic) Le Pen and her" National Front party, which Madonna described as "fascist."

The singer's spat with Marine Le Pen began after the far-right leader threatened to sue Madonna over a video featuring an image of Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead. The offending symbol was eventually replaced with a question mark to avoid litigation.

But Madonna said in the Europe 1 interview that the motives that led her to speak out against intolerance in 2012 were even more pressing today.

"What I said two years ago is valid today," she said. "It's not just happening in France, it's all over Europe. But particularly in France.

"The level of intolerance is so enormous, it's scary."

An annual opinion poll published this week revealed that 69 percent of French people believe there are too many immigrants in the country and half the country wants the death penalty brought back.

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MADONNA

U-Turn: Le Pen says yes to drink with Madonna

France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen has changed her mind and accepted an offer from US pop icon Madonna to "sit down and have a drink". The pair famously fell out when one of Madonna's videos featured an image of Le Pen complete with a swastika on her forehead

U-Turn: Le Pen says yes to drink with Madonna
Marine Le Pen and Madonna may be meeting for a 'demi' soon. Photo: AFP
Madonna has always said you should "Express Yourself" and that's exactly what the 56-year-old singer has been doing while in France this week. 
 
She first hit the French newspapers last week after comparing France and Europe to Nazi Germany – leaving some to question her authority on the matter considering she was born in the US in 1958. 
 
On Monday, she made headlines in France again after inviting the leader of the National Front for a meeting over a 'demi' bière or two.
 
"I think I would like to sit down and have a drink with Marine Le Pen," Madonna said on the Grand Journal TV programme. "I want to understand where she's coming from."
 
It certainly sounded like a prayer for the Material Girl – and that prayer was answered on Tuesday afternoon.
 
After initially telling RTL radio that she wouldn't be meeting the diva, Le Pen did an about turn later in the day.
 
"I accept Madonna's invitation with pleasure," she told the AFP news agency.
 
"I appreciate people who make overtures in good faith."
 
The relationship between the two women has a rocky foundation. 
 
In 2012, the American kicked off her world tour with a show featuring a video montage of Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead. The footage was followed by another photomontage of Hitler and Le Pen. 
 
The French political party threatened legal action over what they called an "odious comparison", and Madonna cut the montage from her show.
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