French magazine faces racism trial after depicting MP as slave

AFP - [email protected] • 15 Apr, 2021 Updated Thu 15 Apr 2021 08:33 CEST
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The case sparked protests in 2020, here with demonstrators laying out chains and a sign reading "Your values are not our values" in front of the Valeurs Actuelles magazine's headquarters in Paris. Photo: Thomas SAMSON / AFP

A French right-wing magazine will go on trial in June on racism charges after publishing images depicting a black woman MP as a slave last year, prosecutors said Wednesday.


The Valeurs Actuelles weekly unleashed a storm of controversy with the publication in August of images of left-wing MP Daniele Obono with a chain fixed to an iron collar around her neck.

French president Emmanuel Macron called Obono in the aftermath and "expressed his clear condemnation of any form of racism", the presidency said at the time.

Valeurs Actuelles however has denied the image was racist.

It said the seven-page story concerning Obono was "a work of fiction... but never nasty."

READ ALSO: Outrage after French magazine depicts black MP as a slave

The publication's director Erik Monjalous will be judged for "attacks of a racist nature" in the trial beginning on June 23rd in Paris, prosecutors told AFP.

Editor-in-chief Geoffroy Lejeune and the article's author will go on trial on charges of complicity.

Obono and her far-left France Unbowed party welcomed the news.


The MP said she would participate in the trial to "denounce the normalisation of the sexist, racist and xenophobic discourse in our country."

France witnessed several protests last year against racial injustice as well as colonial and police brutality, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and George Floyd's death under the knee of a police officer in the United States.

ANALYSIS: Is France really ‘colour-blind’ or just blind to racism?

Centrist Macron raised eyebrows when he gave an interview to Valeurs Actuelles in 2019 and praised it as a "good magazine".

While he has pledged to root out racism, he also said France will not take down statues of figures linked to the colonial era or the slave trade, as has happened in other countries recently.



AFP 2021/04/15 08:33

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