French actress and animal activist Brigitte Bardot was sentenced Thursday to a fine of 20,000 euros over racist remarks against the residents of La Reunion, a French overseas province east of Madagascar. In 2019, the actress called them the “Aborigines who haven’t lost their wild genes yet.” Its spokesperson also has to pay a large sum of money.
In 2019, Brigitte Bardot created a foundation in La Reunion that aims to protect the animals in the outdoor department. Then she wrote in an open letter to the Amaury de Saint-Quentin, who was a conservative there, about the cruelty with which the inhabitants of La Réunion treat animals. “The aborigines have not yet lost their wild genes,” she wrote. She also called the island “Devil’s Island, whose inhabitants are still immersed in barbarian traditions.”
The letter aroused much indignation, including Ben-Annick Girardin, who was French Minister of the Foreign Provinces at the time of the facts. “Racism is not an opinion, it is a crime,” she said. In the end, Brigitte Bardot apologized, justifying her anger by pointing to the “tragic situation” in which she believes the animals on the island are.
On October 7, when the trial began, the Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered a fine of 25,000 euros for the actress and activist, and 5,000 euros for her spokesperson Bruno Jacqueline for complicity. Jacqueline also distributed the message to various media. On Thursday 4 November, the two were finally sentenced to fines of 20,000 and 4,000 euros, respectively.