Siné in March 2007
31 December 1928
|Died||5 May 2016 (aged 87)|
|Complainte sans Paroles|
|Awards||Prix de l'Humour noir, 1955|
Maurice Sinet (31 December 1928 – 5 May 2016), known professionally as Siné, was a French political cartoonist. His work is noted for its anti-capitalism, anti-clericalism, anti-colonialism, anti-semitism, and anarchism.
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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 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 1965 Siné became involved in a power struggle at Penguin Books. During an attempt by chief editor Tony Godwin and the board of directors to remove the company founder Allen Lane, Lane stole and burned the entire print run of the English edition of Siné's book Massacre, which was reportedly deeply offensive.
Controversy and sacking
In 1982, shortly 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 July 2008, Siné's column in the magazine Charlie Hebdo contained this comment on Jean Sarkozy's rumoured impending conversion to Judaism so he could marry a Jewish heiress of the wealthy Darty family, Jessica Sebaoun-Darty: "He'll go a long way in life, this lad!"  Sarkozy and Sebaoun-Darty married but Sarkozy has affirmed that he did not convert to Judaism. The incident led to complaints of anti-Semitism and journalist Claude Askolovitch described the comments 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.
- Private Eye #130 (9 December 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).
- Narrated by Lane biographer Jeremy Lewis on BBC Radio in 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b00tjrgz
- "Former Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Maurice Sinet dies at 87". 5 May 2016.
- "Former Charlie Hebdo cartoonist 'Siné' dead at 87". France24.com. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- Burke, Jason (3 August 2008). "'Anti-Semitic' satire divides liberal Paris". The Guardian. London, UK.
- Jason Burke (3 August 2008). "'Anti-semitic' satire divides liberal Paris". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- "Le Tribunal de Grande Instance donne raison à Siné contre Charlie Hebdo", ActuaBD.com, 11 December 2010.
- "Hätsk fransk debatt om antisemitism", Sveriges Television, 13 August 2008.
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