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Maurice Sinet
Siné in March 2007
Siné in March 2007
BornMaurice Sinet
(1928-12-31)31 December 1928
Paris, France
Died5 May 2016(2016-05-05) (aged 87)
Paris, France
Area(s)Political cartoons
Notable works
Complainte sans Paroles
Siné Massacre
AwardsPrix de l'Humour noir [fr], 1955

Maurice Sinet (French pronunciation: ​[mɔʁis sine]; 31 December 1928 – 5 May 2016), known professionally as Siné (pronounced [sine]), was a French political cartoonist. His work is noted for its anti-capitalism, anti-clericalism, anti-colonialism, anti-semitism, and anarchism.

Drawings in a photo by Paolo Monti (1960)


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.

Siné's anti-colonialism caused controversy during the Algerian war. He was sued a number of times, being defended by Jacques Vergès, then a lawyer for the Algerian Liberation Front.

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.[citation needed]

In reviewing the book, the British satirical magazine Private Eye described Siné's cartoons as "grotesque", and criticised publisher Penguin Books for its managerial incompetence.[1]

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.[2]

In May 1968, together with Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Siné launched L'Enragé, a short-lived satirical journal associated with the May 1968 events in France.[citation needed]


Siné died after undergoing surgery at a hospital in Paris on 5 May 2016, aged 87. He had been battling cancer for several years.[3][4][5]

Controversy and sacking[edit]

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.[6]

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!"[6] 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.[6]

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.[7]

Siné 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."[8]


  1. ^ 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).

  2. ^ Narrated by Lane biographer Jeremy Lewis on BBC Radio in 2010,
  3. ^ "Former Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Maurice Sinet dies at 87". 5 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Former Charlie Hebdo cartoonist 'Siné' dead at 87". 6 May 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  5. ^ "A World Without Siné". 16 May 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Burke, Jason (3 August 2008). "'Anti-Semitic' satire divides liberal Paris". The Guardian. London, UK.
  7. ^ "Le Tribunal de Grande Instance donne raison à Siné contre Charlie Hebdo",, 11 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Hätsk fransk debatt om antisemitism", Sveriges Television, 13 August 2008.

External links[edit]