Zemmour drew widespread outrange in September 2020 when he told the CNews channel that child migrants were “thieves, killers, they’re rapists. That’s all they are. We should send them back”.
Zemmour, a media pundit who is struggling to assemble the endorsements from elected officials he needs to compete in April’s presidential vote, did not show up in court to hear the verdict, having already skipped his trial in November.
The court fined him €10,000, which can be paid in installments. He could be jailed if he fails to pay the sum.
Zemmour’s lawyer, Olivier Pardo, said he would appeal the verdict.
The case was “nothing other than another attempt to intimidate me”, Zemmour said last year, adding that “they won’t shut me up”.
The journalist and author has two previous convictions for hate speech and has been investigated 16 times in total over incendiary remarks on immigration and Islam.
In 2011, he was fined €10,000 for claiming on TV that “most drug dealers are black and Arab”. In 2018, he was ordered to pay €3,000 for comments about a Muslim “invasion” of France.
His dramatic entrance into front-line politics after a career spent in the media sent waves through the French ruling class in September, making him briefly the most talked-about challenger to President Emmanuel Macron.
Since then, however, ratings have slumped and he has admitted that he is struggling to get the necessary 500 endorsements from local politicians in order to be officially placed on the ballot paper.