Siné in March 2007
December 31, 1928
|Complainte sans Paroles
|Awards||Prix de l'Humour noir (fr), 1955|
As a young man Siné studied drawing and graphic arts, while earning a living as a cabaret singer. His first published drawing appeared in France Dimanche in 1952. Siné received the Prix de l'Humour noir (fr) in 1955 for his collection Complainte sans Paroles. His series of drawings on cats was his breakthrough. He then started working for L'Express as a political cartoonist.
In 1962 Siné left L'Express and published a book of his work called Siné Massacre, noted for its anti-colonialism, anti-capitalism, anti-clericalism, and anarchism. On reviewing the book, the British satirical magazine Private Eye described Siné's cartoons as "grotesque," and criticised publisher Penguin Books for its managerial incompetence.
Controversy and sacking
In 1982, soon after a terrorist attack had taken place on Jews in Paris, Siné gave an interview on the radio during which he stated: "Yes, I am anti-Semitic and I am not scared to admit it [...] I want all Jews to live in fear, unless they are pro-Palestinian. Let them die." He later apologised for his comments.
In 2008, Siné's article and cartoons in the magazine Charlie Hebdo relating to Jean Sarkozy's converting to Judaism so he could marry Jewish heiress Jessica Sebaoun-Darty were accompanied by a short note from Siné reading, "He'll go far, this lad!" After this led to complaints of anti-Semitism and journalist Claude Askolovitch described them as anti-Semitic, the magazine's editor, Philippe Val, ordered Siné to write a letter of apology or face termination. The cartoonist said he would rather "cut his own balls off," and was promptly fired. Both sides subsequently filed lawsuits, and in December 2010, Siné won a 40,000-euro court judgment against his former publisher for wrongful termination. Siné also reported a death threat posted on a site run by the Jewish Defense League. The text said "20 centimeters of stainless steel in the gut, that should teach the bastard to stop and think."
- Private Eye #130 (9 Dec. 1966), p.3:
When an old family concern (like the BBC) decides to get 'with-it', you can be sure that the results will be farcical. So with Penguin Books. . . . Now, as part of their Christmas fare comes a book of grotesque cartoons — by Siné, the tone of which is well conveyed by the first drawing which shows a nun undressing while Christ leers salaciously down at her from the crucifix on the wall. Penguin (like the BBC) is so incompetently run that those in authority did not realise the nature of the work until it was too late. Now a full-scale boardroom rumpus has developed and resignations may follow. (Needless to say W.H. Smith is handling the book without a murmur).
- Burke, Jason, The Observer (3 August 2008). "'Anti-Semitic' satire divides liberal Paris". The Guardian (London).
- "What to say when you have nothing to say", Counterpunch
- "Le Tribunal de Grande Instance donne raison à Siné contre Charlie Hebdo," ActuaBD (11 December 2010).
- "Hätsk fransk debatt om antisemitism," Sveriges Television (Aug. 13, 2008).