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France

French far-right warns Madonna over Nazi 'slur'

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2012-08-21

France's far-right National Front party has warned US pop diva Madonna, who performs in Nice on Tuesday night, not to repeat a video montage linking party leader Marine Le Pen to the Nazis as she did during previous concerts.

France’s far-right National Front (FN) party has warned of “consequences” if American pop diva Madonna uses a video montage linking the party’s leader Marine Le Pen to Nazism at a concert in Nice on Tuesday.

Madonna hit headlines in France after the first concert of her “MDNA” tour in Tel Aviv, Israel on May 31, in which a video backdrop briefly showed a picture of Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead.

“If she tries that in France, we’ll see what happens” Marine Le Pen warned at the time.

Madonna used the same montage during her song “Nobody Knows Me” at a concert at the Stade de France in Paris on July 14. Cheers erupted in the audience when Le Pen’s face appeared bearing the Nazi symbol. 

Madonna's montage at her Paris concert

The FN lodged a complaint against the singer for defamation.

In Nice, party activists have been busy pasting pictures of their party leader over posters advertising Madonna’s concert.

Lydia Schenardi, head of the FN in the Alpes-Maritimes administrative region said the city, where 18% of voters supported Le Pen in April’s first round of the presidential election, would not tolerate seeing Madonna link the party to Nazism.

“Madonna does not understand French politics and she does not understand the concept of democracy,” she told FRANCE 24. “The FN is a legitimate party and it is an unacceptable slur to link its leader to the Nazis. If she shows this video again tonight, we will certainly lodge another complaint for defamation.”

But Schenardi insisted that there would be no FN demonstration at the concert.

“She does not respect the FN or its leader but we respect people’s right to listen to whatever music they want,” she said. “There will be no incident at tonight’s concert but there will be consequences if she uses this footage.”

The anti-immigration and anti-Europe FN has worked hard in recent years to shake off its image as a racist and anti-Semitic party.

Marine Le Pen, who took over the FN leadership from her father Jean-Marie in 2010, insists that the party’s hardline stance on immigration is based on economics and not racial prejudice.

Her father Jean-Marie, who founded the FN in 1972, has been convicted of racism and inciting racial hatred a number of times.

In 1987 he famously said that the Nazi gas chambers of the Holocaust were “just a detail in the history of World War II”.

The FN is France’s third-largest party, but because the country does not have a system of proportional representation in government, it has only two members of parliament in the 577-seat lower National Assembly, and none at all in the upper Senate.

Date created : 2012-08-21

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