Daughter loses legal case in bitter Asterix family feud

Photo: AFP

A long-running family feud between Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo and his daughter took a new twist on Tuesday after judges dismissed a claim by Sylvie Uderzo that her father was mentally frail and being exploited.


It is one of the world’s best loved comic book series, selling 352 million copies across the globe while being translated into more than 110 languages and dialects.

But for the past six years, The Adventures of Asterix have also been the source of a bitter family feud between the series’ co-creator Albert Uderzo and his daughter, who has accused her father of selling out to big business.

The latest twist in the ongoing dispute came on Tuesday when French judges dismissed a the claim by Sylvie Uderzo that her father was mentally frail and being exploited by those seeking to profit from his famous creation. The judge also ordered the dismissal of the whole case.

The claim was first filed in 2011, in which Sylvie accused an unnamed party of “abuse of fragility” against her 86-year-old father in order to influence the management of his literary estate.

Asterix at 50

The judges found "no sufficient evidence to suggest anyone had committed the offence of abuse of fragility" against Uderzo, he said, describing the comic book artists as a "lucid" man who was "not in a state of vulnerability" and who "has the full capacity to make decisions ".

The dispute between Uderzo, who created Asterix in 1959 along with writer René Goscinny, and his daughter dates back to 2007, when Sylvie and her husband Bernard de Choizy were dismissed as managers of the company handling Uderzo's estate.

‘Psychological violence’

A year later Uderzo sold the company to French publishing giant Hachette, a decision Sylvie claimed betrayed the spirit of the books and left the Asterix franchise open to exploitation.

In a 2009 letter to French daily Le Monde she wrote that it was "as if the gates of the Gaulish village had been thrown open to the Roman Empire".

The latest edition, "Asterix and the Picts", was released in October. Written by Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrated by Didier Conrad, it was the first in the series not written and illustrated by one of its original creators.

However, Uderzo has fought back against his daughter’s claims, filing a judicial complaint against Sylvie and her husband for "psychological violence" earlier this month.

Uderzo, accused Sylvie and her husband of trying to "get their hands" on his legacy and filing legal charges that had “no foundations” with the aim of undermining his” psychological integrity”.

"I have kept my mouth shut for years, but today I have decided to act," he said at the time.

"I want to turn the tables on those who are attacking me. Enough is enough!”

Following Tuesday’s dismissal, Uderzo and his wife Ada released a statement saying they hoped the decision will “put an end to judicial and media harassment orchestrated by their daughter and her husband Bernard de Choizy".

However, Sylvie’s lawyer told AFP that she intends to launch an “immediate appeal”.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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