A Paris court on Friday acquitted the former head of the far-right political party Front National, Jean-Marie Le Pen, of inciting racial hatred. The indictment relates to Le Pen’s 2014 statement.
At the time, the 93-year-old former presidential candidate sharply criticized French artists who spoke out against far-right ideas in a video. His use of the word fournée in particular caused a stir: fournée is a French word meaning “a load of cake in the oven.” In response to the artists who criticized, Le Pen said “Listen, next time we’re going to put a load of donuts in the oven!”
The verdict was directed, among other things, against singer Patrick Bruel, who is of Jewish descent. In this way, he seemed to allude to the burning of Jews who were exposed to gas during the Holocaust. The court considers Le Pen’s statements “grave moral misconduct,” but does not consider the ruling necessary.
The accused himself told AFP: ‘The facts have triumphed over hatred. I am pleased that the court in this case, which was self-evident, ruled in accordance with the law.” Le Pen himself was not present at the trial.
The comment sparked a lot of criticism at the time and stirred up strife within the National Front. His daughter, Marine Le Pen, then leader of the party, called her father’s statement a “political mistake”.
In the summer of 2015, Jean-Marie Le Pen was expelled from the movement and stripped of his honorary presidency at a party congress in 2018.
Jean-Marie Le Pen was convicted several times by the courts. In 1993, he was fined for the 1988 charge, “Deravour Holocaust,” targeting then-Minister of Civil Service Michel Deravour.
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