French movie legend Brigitte Bardot is being threatened with a law suit by two rights groups who accuse her of inciting racism in her new book. “Cry in the silence,” (Cri dans le silence) takes on issues such as racial mixing, immigration, the role of women in politics and Islam.
“We’re going to go to the corrections court against Brigitte Bardot,” Michel Tubiana, president of France’s Human Rights League, said in a telephone interview Thursday. On Monday, the rights group Movement Against Racism and for Friendship of People called for a boycott of the book, saying it was a source of “racist propaganda.”
Bardot and her publisher, Editions du Rocher, denied the allegations. In a statement, they said they were “particularly shocked” about the boycott and efforts to portray the book as racist. Bardot and her publisher “are ready and waiting” for any lawsuit, the statement said. They also raised the prospect of countersuits and vowed to defend their right of freedom of expression.
In the new book, “everyone is targeted: teachers, the unemployed, illegal immigrants, homosexuals, the Paris mayor,” Tubiana said. Passages of the book were published last weekend in the daily France-Soir. The excerpts laid out Bardot’s questioning of the role of women as ministers in government and criticism of “average” French people. But the rights groups focused on the alleged anti-Muslim comments. “I’m against the Islamization of France…our grandfathers, our fathers gave their lives for centuries to chase all successive invaders out of France,” one excerpt said. Asked what passages shocked him, Tubiana said: “saying, for example, that Muslims can’t be French that’s a real problem or that Muslims are invading France, that Muslims are all terrorists. …This type of generalization is unacceptable.”
Passages about Muslims, Tubiana contended, break French anti-racism laws that prevent inciting hate and discrimination on racial or religious or racial grounds. Bardot, 68, a former screen siren and animal rights campaigner, was convicted in 1997 and 2000 of inciting racial violence after she criticized in print the Muslim practice of slaughtering sheep.