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French baker accused of selling 'racist' cakes

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French baker accused of selling 'racist' cakes
Racist cakes or harmless pastries? Photo: CRAN
14:18 CET+01:00
A cake maker in the south of France has been threatened with legal action for inciting racial hatred unless he stops selling cakes deemed “obscene” by an anti-racism group in France. The baker told The Local he's a victim of "intellectual terrorism".

The owner of the pâtisserie in the town of Grasse, near Nice could find himself in hot water after being accused of selling racist cakes.

The sweet pastries in question, named “Gods” and “Goddesses” are in the form of obese people, covered in dark chocolate with over-sized sexual parts.

While the baker who sells the little men and women filled with shortbread and chocolate mousse sees the cakes as inoffensive, for one anti-racism group in France, they are anything but.

“It’s pure and simple racism,” Louis-George Tin from France’s Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN) told The Local.

After being made aware of the cakes by a shocked customer, CRAN denounced the “obscene slave trade caricatures that tap into the tradition of colonial racism” and threatened to lodge a complaint for inciting racial hatred.

“We are in a country where the word equality is part of the constitution, which means it doesn’t allow for racism. Does he think these treats adhere to the values of the French Republic?” said Tin.

“We must fight this kind of racism. I cannot imagine what would be said (rightly) if an African baker decided to represent Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in a similar way,” Tin said.

The group has asked the local mayor Jerome Viaud to take a stance.

However the baker Tannick Tavolaro remains defiant.

He told The Local he found the complaint absurd and firmly denies he is racist.

“At first I thought it was a joke then I read the news. It’s absurd and hurtful. These pastries have absolutely no racial connotation at all," he said.

“It’s made of chocolate mousse, which is why it’s black. The characters are little human beings, a man and woman but not a black man and a woman,” said Tavolaro.

“These people who attack me don’t know my story or my career or who I am. It’s just intellectual terrorism and I won’t yield to that kind of terrorism,” he said.

Tavolaro has vowed to continue to make his controversial cakes despite the threats.

“I am not racist. I do not belong to any political party. I just argue for freedom of speech,” he told The Local.

It's not the first time a bakery in France has provoked outrage over its creations.

In September last year a pâtisserie in Auxerre was forced to change the name of its biscuits named "bamboula" and "negro" after complaints from anti-racism groups.

And it's not just in France.

In 2012, Sweden's then culture minister Adelsohn Liljeroth came close to losing her job when she cut into the vagina area of a cake modelled on a black woman's body, which was part of an art project. 

by Ben McPartland/Priscillia Charles 

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