Dieudonné M'bala M'bala
|Dieudonné M'bala M'bala|
Dieudonné in 2009
11 February 1966 |
Fontenay-aux-Roses, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Dieudonné M'bala M'bala (born 11 February 1966), generally known by his stage name Dieudonné (French: [djø.dɔ.ne]), is a French comedian, actor and political activist. Initially an anti-racist activist, he later became close to the far-right Front National and fringe organisations. He has been condemned in court several times for antisemitic remarks. Since 1997, Dieudonné has regularly stood in parliamentary and European Union elections as a candidate at the head of fringe or splinter parties, and has tried and failed to run in two French presidential elections (2002 and 2007).
Dieudonné M'bala M'bala was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses, Hauts-de-Seine, the son of a French painter and retired sociologist from Brittany who exhibits as a painter under the name Josiane Grué, and an accountant from Ekoudendi, Cameroon. His parents divorced when he was one, and he was brought up by his mother. He attended Catholic school, though his mother was a New Age Buddhist. Dieudonné lives with Noémie Montagne who works as his producer, and has five children with her.
After getting his baccalaureate in computer science, Dieudonné began writing and practicing routines with his childhood friend Jewish comedian and actor Élie Semoun. They performed in local cafés and bars, while Dieudonné worked as a salesman, selling cars, telephones, and photocopy machines. In 1992, a Paris comedian spotted them and helped them stage their first professional show. In the 1990s, they appeared on stage and on television together. In 1997, the scenic duo "Élie et Dieudonné" split and each went on a solo theater career. In 1998, they reunited in a screen comedy, Le Clone, which was a failure critically and financially. From the mid-1990s Dieudonné appeared in several French film comedies mostly in supporting roles. His most successful screen appearance to date was in Alain Chabat's box-office hit Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra in 2002, in 2004 he appeared in Maurice Barthélémy's box office bomb Casablanca Driver.
Dieudonné's successful one-man shows include Pardon Judas (2000), Le divorce de Patrick (2003), and 1905 (2005). Other one-man shows were Mes Excuses (2004), Dépôt de bilan (2006) and J'ai fait l'con (2008), all understood as attacks on political and social opponents and defences of his own positions. Anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic statements made within and around these productions led to intense controversy and numerous lawsuits. Following the 2005 civil unrest in France, Dieudonné also penned a play called Émeutes en banlieue (Riots in the Suburbs, February 2006). In 2009, and surrounded by scandals (see below, "Political activities"), Dieudonné launched two one-man shows: Liberté d’expression and Sandrine. While the latter was a follow-up to Le divorce de Patrick (Sandrine is Patrick's ex-wife), the former was conceived as a series of itinerant "conferences" on "free speech". Started on 18 June 2010 in his theater, Dieudonné's most recent show to date, Mahmoud (standing for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) is set to an openly antisemitic tone, caricaturing Jews, slavery and "official" versions of history.
Dieudonné's production company first acted under the name "Bonnie Productions" and now under the name "Les productions de la Plume."
In 2012 Dieudonné made his directorial debut in a film called "L’Antisémite" ("The Anti-Semite"), which stars him as a violent and alcoholic character who dresses as a Nazi officer at a party, and also features the Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, as well as imagery that mocks the Auschwitz concentration camp. The movie, which was produced by the Iranian Documentary and Experimental Film Center and is also known by the title "Yahod Setiz," was canceled at the Cannes Film Festival's Marché du Film, where it was to be screened. The film is to be commercialized on the internet and sold to subscribers of Dieudonné's activities.
Théâtre de la Main d'Or
Dieudonné is the owner of the Théâtre de la Main d'Or in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, which is used for both stand-up comedy and political events by himself and friends.
Dieudonné was initially active on the anti-racist left. In the 1997 legislative election, he fought with his party "Les Utopistes" in Dreux against National Front candidate Marie-France Stirbois and received 8 percent of the vote. Verbally and in demonstrations, he also supported migrants without a residence permit (the so-called "sans papiers") and the Palestinians.
Since 2002, Dieudonné has attracted attention by increasingly polemical statements. In an interview for the magazine Lyon Capitale in January 2002, he described "the Jews" as "a sect, a fraud, which is the worst of all, because it was the first" and said he preferred "the charisma of bin Laden to that of Bush". He subsequently failed to maintain his bid for running for the 2002 presidential election.
On 1 December 2003, he appeared live on a television show, disguised as a parody of Israeli settler wearing military fatigues and a hat of Haredi (Orthodox) Jews. The sketch climaxed with a Hitler salute, after which Dieudonné shouts out a word. According to Dieudonné, he shouted "Israël", in the persona of the settler. In the following days, some news agencies stated that he shouted "Isra – Heil" or "Heil Israel". He was cleared of charges of antisemitism in a Paris court after the judge said this was not an attack against Jews in general but against a type of person "distinguished by their political views". At the European Parliament election, 2004, Dieudonné was candidate of the extreme left-wing party "Euro-Palestine", but left a few months after the election because of disagreements with its leaders. The two leaders of Euro-palestine are: Dieudonné m'bala m'bala and alain Soral, friends of thierry Meyssan from reopen9/11, writing denying the events of 11 September. Iranian republic openly declares support Dieudonné M'bala M'bala. Dieudonné is the director of Les Ogres Website, which denies 11 September. Following this television appearance, a Dieudonné show in Lyon (at La Bourse du Travail) on 5 February 2004 was picketed and a bottle containing a corrosive product was thrown in the venue, injuring a spectator. On 11 November, Dieudonné organized a debate with four rabbis of Naturei Karta in the Théâtre de la Main d'Or in Paris.
On 16 February 2005, he declared during a press conference in Algiers, that the Central Council of French Jews CRIF (Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France) was a "mafia" that had "total control over French policy exercise", called the commemoration of the Holocaust "memorial pornography" ("pornographie mémorielle") and claimed that the "Zionists of the Centre National de la Cinématographie" prevented him from making a film about the slave trade. Dieudonné was also trying to appear as a spokesman for French blacks, but, after some initial sympathy, notably from the novelist Calixthe Beyala, the journalists Antoine Garnier and Claudy Siar as well as the founding members of the Conseil représentatif des associations noires (CRAN), he increasingly met with their rejection.
Throughout 2005 and 2006, Dieudonné was often in the company of the senior Front National members Bruno Gollnisch, Frédéric Châtillon, and Marc George (also known as Marc Robert), the man who would conduct his electoral campaigns in 2007 and 2009. Dieudonné also frequently appeared together with the conspiracy theorist Thierry Meyssan and the former Marxist and current right-wing radical Alain Soral, a confidant of Marine and Jean-Marie Le Pen. Under the influence of Soral's writings and polemics, Dieudonné was acquainted with his militant antisemitism of French nationalist inspiration. In May 2006, he gave a lengthy interview to the far-right monthly Le Choc du mois. Demonstrating shoulder to shoulder with Islamists, he also marched on 11 February 2006 in the Parisian demonstration against the Muhammad cartoons and traveled at the end of August 2006 with Châtillon, Meyssan and Soral in Lebanon, to meet MPs and fighters of the Hezbollah. Some Jews reacted angrily to his comments on this tour. On 2 March 2005 four French Jews attacked him in Martinique. The assailants were imprisoned for a month. In April 2005, Dieudonné went to Auschwitz. In May 2006 he was involved in a fight with two teenage Jews in Paris, one of whom he sprayed with tear gas. Dieudonné claimed that the teenagers attacked him first; both parties pressed charges, but the lawsuits were not pursued. In France and abroad, Dieudonné became increasingly perceived as an extremist of a type until then uncommon in Europe: in the introduction to a March 2006 interview, The Independent called him a "French Louis Farrakhan... obsessed with Jews".
Dieudonné wanted to finally represent politically these ever radicalized positions in the 2007 presidential election, but for logistical reasons he could not maintain his candidacy, whose campaign was conducted by Marc Robert (a.k.a. Marc George). The convicted Holocaust denier Serge Thion wrote for his campaign web site under the pseudonym "Serge Noith", as did also the longtime secretary of the Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, Maria Poumier. After the end of his candidacy, Dieudonné appeared several times publicly in the company of Jean-Marie Le Pen and traveled to Cameroon with Le Pen's wife Jany. However, officially, Dieudonné called for the election of anti-globalization militant José Bové, despite Bové asking Dieudonné not to do so.
On 26 December 2008 at an event at the Parc de la Villette in Paris, Dieudonné awarded the Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson an "insolent outcast" prize [prix de l'infréquentabilité et de l'insolence]. The award was presented by one of Dieudonné's assistants, Jacky, dressed in a concentration camp uniform with a yellow badge. This caused a scandal and earned him his sixth court conviction to date. On 29 January 2009 he celebrated the 80th birthday of Faurisson in his theater, in the midst of a representative gathering of Holocaust deniers, right-wing radicals, and radical Shiites. Dieudonné and Faurisson further appeared together in a video making fun of the Holocaust and its commemoration.
On Saturday 21 March 2009, Dieudonné announced that he would run for the 2009 European Parliament election in the Île-de-France at the head of an "anti-communitarist and anti-Zionist" party. Other candidates on his party's electoral list are Alain Soral and the Holocaust denier and former member of Les Verts Ginette Skandrani (also known as Ginette Hess), while Thierry Meyssan and Afrocentrist Kémi Seba, founder of the "Tribu Ka" are members of the party but do not run. The campaign would be conducted again by Marc George. In spite of the association of Dieudonné's party with the Shiite Centre Zahra, whose president Yahia Gouasmi also runs on his list, his candidacy was supported by Fernand Le Rachinel, a former high ranking executive of the Front National and official printer of the party. In early May 2009, the French government studied the possibility of banning the party, but on 24 May, Justice minister Rachida Dati acknowledged that, in spite of moral objections, there was no legal ground to do so. On 28 May, it became known that Carlos "the Jackal" also expressed his hope Dieudonné would make it to Strasbourg. The Parti antisioniste finally scored 1.30% of the votes.
On 9 May 2012, Police in Brussels, Belgium stopped Dieudonné mid-performance after determining that his performance contravened local laws and forced the cancellation of two more shows. On 21 June, Dieudonné complained against the Brussels police. On 12 May 2012, event producer Evenko forced the cancellation of Dieudonné's shows in Montreal, Canada, on 14, 15, 16 May, and 17, citing "contractual conflicts". In late May 2012, a screening of Dieudonné's directorial debut, "L’Antisémite" ("The Anti-Semite"), was canceled at the Marché du Film, the market held at the Cannes Film Festival.
- On 14 June 2006, Dieudonné was sentenced to a penalty of 4,500 Euro for defamation after having called a prominent Jewish television presenter a "secret donor of the child-murdering Israeli army".
- On 15 November 2007, an appellate court convicted him to a 5,000 Euro fine because he had treated "the Jews" as "slave traders" after being attacked in his theater le Théâtre de la Main d'Or.
- On 26 June 2008, he was sentenced in the last judicial instance to a 7,000 Euro fine for his designation of the media exploitation of the Holocaust as "memorial pornography".
- On 27 February 2009, he was fined 75,000 Canadian dollars in Montreal for defamatory statements against the singer and actor Patrick Bruel after called him "liar" and "israeli soldier".
- On 26 March 2009, Dieudonné was sentenced to a total of 3,000 Euros for defamation after having criticised Elisabeth Schemla, a Jewish journalist who ran the now defunct Proche-Orient.Info website. He declared on 31 May 2005 that the website wanted to "eradicate Dieudonné from the audiovisual landscape" and had said of him that "he's an anti-semite, he's the son of Hitler, he will exterminate everyone".
- On 27 October 2009, he was sentenced to a fine of 10,000 Euros for "public insult of people of Jewish faith or origin" related to his show with Robert Faurisson.
- On 8 June 2010, he was sentenced to a fine of €10,000 for defamation towards the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism, which he had called "a mafia-like association that organizes censorship".
- On 10 October 2012, he was fined €887,135 for tax evasion. According to the French equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service, Dieudonné failed to pay part of his taxes from 1997 to 2009.
- Lettres d'insulte, illustrations by Tignous, Le Cherche-midi, 2002, (ISBN 2862747971)
- Peut-on tout dire?, Interviews conducted by Philippe Gavi and Robert Ménard, in parallel with Bruno Gaccio, Editions Mordicus, 2010, (ISBN 978-2-918414-00-1)
- Anne-Sophie Mercier, La vérité sur Dieudonné, Plon, 2005; reissued in 2009 as Dieudonné démasqué, Seuil.
- Olivier Mukuna, Dieudonné. Entretien à cœur ouvert, Éditions EPO, 2004
- Jürg Altwegg, Die große Show der Auschwitz-Lügner als Duett eines Komikers mit dem Geschichtsfälscher Robert Faurisson, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 6 January 2009, p. 36
- Agathe André, Mon réveillon chez les Faurissons. Charlie Hebdo n° 864, 7 January 2009, p. 2
- Dieudonné à la fête du FN, Libération, 20 November 2006
- Maïa de la Baume (22 June 2012). "A French Jester Who Trades in Hate". The New York Times.
- Tom Reiss (19 November 2007). "Letter from Paris: Laugh Riots. The French star who became a demagogue". The New Yorker.
- "Interdit de casino, " Dieudonné sera quand même là lundi, accompagné d'un huissier ! " – Actualité Dunkerque – Nord – La Voix du Nord". Lavoixdunord.fr. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- "Dieudonné – Biography". Imdb.com. 1966-02-11. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- "Le clone (1998)". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- Dieudonné : rappel des principaux faits entourant la polémique, Observatoire du communautarisme, 26 February 2005
- Dieudonné donne une "conférence" dans un car, Le Nouvel Observateur, 18 March 2009
- Dieudonné de retour dans un spectacle qui s'en prend ouvertement aux juifs, Agence France Presse, 18 June 2010
- Dieudonné, la croisade du bouffon, Lesoir.be, 10 August 2010
- Vladislav Davidzon (26 June 2012). "L’Antisémite, Banned at Cannes. A new French film is worth watching if only for its portrayal of aesthetic corruption propelled by bigotry". Tablet Magazine.
- Richard Brody (11 April 2012). "Dieudonné’s I-Rant". The New Yorker.
- Dave Itzkoff (25 May 2012). "Screening of Comedy ‘The Anti-Semite’ Is Canceled at Cannes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- AFP (25 May 2012). "Cannes: le film de Dieudonné annulé". Le Figaro (in French).
- Dieudonné – Bouffon de cour, voir.ca (reissued on Vigile.net), 14 June 2007
- Dieudonné jugé raciste en cassation, L'Express, 25 October 2007
- Et si Dieudonné n'avait jamais existé... desourcesure.com, 24 March 2009
- Là où la blague blesse, libération, 20 February 2004
- Dieudonné, la promo par le pire, 24 heures, 7 January 2009
- "French comic 'not anti-Semitic'". BBC. 2004-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- Dieudonné sur une pente très glissante, Euro-Palestine, 29 October 2004
- Incident spectacle Dieudonné INA clip
- "Dieudonné chahuté à Lyon". Libération. 2004-02-04. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
- Dieudonné n’est pas antisémite : il aime les Juifs intégristes, prochoix.org, 24 November 2004
- A Alger, l'humoriste qualifie la commémoration de la Shoah de "pornographie mémorielle", aidh.org, February 2005
- Stephen Smith, Géraldine Faes: Noir et Français!, Éditions du Panama, April 2006, ISBN 2-7557-0106-4; Bernhard Schmid: Reise nach Beirut. Trend-online, 2005
- Dieudonné et ses fans du FN amnistia.info, 21 December 2006
- Châtillon, Le GUD des autres, Bakchich.info, 13 November 2006
- Dieudonné, côté obscur, Libération, 2 January 2009
- Dieudonné, le comique tripier; Alain Soral: Le sous-Marine du Front National, Amnistia.net, 28 February 2005 & 4 December 2006
- Laugh Riots, The New Yorker, 19 November 2007
- Cover of Le Choc du mois, May 2006 issue, prominently featuring Dieudonné
- Dieudonné agressé en Martinique
- John Lichfield: "French comic's growing anti-Semitism is no joke", The Sunday Independent, 26 March 2006.
- Un coup de tonnerre : Dieudonné se retire de la campagne présidentielle, Bakchich.info, 11 October 2006
- Dieudonné guide de Mme Le Pen au Cameroun, grioo.com, 16 March 2007
- Dieudonné soutient Bové, qui le récuse, L’Express, 16 January 2007
- Dieudonné/Faurisson : le parquet de Paris ouvre une enquête préliminaire, Le Nouvel Observateur, 31 December 2008
- Les étranges amitiés de Dieudonné, Le Monde, 24. February 2009, reproduced on http://france-israel.hautetfort.com
- Dieudonné-Faurisson : le sketch qui fait scandale, agoravox.tv, 25 March 2009
- Dieudonné, candidat "antisioniste" aux européennes, Le Monde, 23 March 2009
- Dieudonné candidat aux élections européennes, Le Figaro, 22 March 2009
- Les amis très particuliers du centre Zahra, L'Express, 27 February 2009
- Un Juif avec barbe et chapeau sur l'affiche de Dieudonné, Rue89, 2 June 2009
- Le créancier du FN "s'amuse" avec la liste de Dieudonné, Le Monde, 26 May 2009
- "Les listes antisionistes de Dieudonné menacées d'interdiction | À la Une | Reuters". Fr.reuters.com. 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- "France seeks poll bar for comic" by Emma Jane Kirby, BBC News, 5 May 2009
- Dati : "on n'a pas trouvé d'éléments" pouvant empêcher Dieudonné de se présenter aux européennes, Le Nouvel Observateur, 24 May 2009
- Le terroriste Carlos soutient Dieudonné, Le Parisien, 28 May 2009
- La liste "anti-sioniste" de Dieudonné obtient 1,30% en Ile-de-France, Agence France Presse, 8 June 2009
- Dieudonné porte plainte contre la police de Bruxelles
- "B'nai Brith Applauds Evenko Cancellation of Dieudonné M'bala M'bala", Montreal Gazette 12 May 2012
- Dieudonné renonce à faire appel de sa condamnation pour diffamation envers Arthur, La Dépêche du Midi, 19 September 2007
- Dieudonné condamné pour propos antisémites, Le Figaro, undated
- Dieudonné, star de la semaine judiciaire, Le Figaro, 26 June 2008
- Dieudonné condamné au Québec à payer 75.000 dollars à Patrick Bruel, Agence France Presse, 28 February 2009
- Dieudonné condamné pour diffamation, Le Parisien, 26 March 2009
- Amende de 10.000€ pour Dieudonné, Le Figaro, 27 October 2009
- Dieudonné condamné pour diffamation envers la Licra, Le Parisien, 8 June 2010
- Official MySpace
- Dieudonné M'bala M'bala at the Internet Movie Database
- Bernard Schmid: Dieudonné, der gar nicht lustige Komiker, hagalil.com, 21 February 2005
- Gudrun Eussner: "Der Effekt Dieudonné – weitere rassistische Aggressionen gegen Jude," 6 and 7 March 2006
- Dieudonné's Anti-Zionist Party