Beltway Confidential

Bob Dylan charged with 'incitement to hatred' in France over published remark about Croatians

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Beltway Confidential,Ashe Schow,First Amendment,Race and Diversity

This should make Americans a little more thankful for the First Amendment: Bob Dylan has been charged in France with “insulting behavior” and “incitement to hatred" for comments the American singer made to Rolling Stone magazine in 2012 about racial tensions, AFP reported.

“Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery — that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke ... If you got a slave master or [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that,” Dylan said. "That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."

The statement angered France’s Croatian population, and several Croatian radio stations apparently stopped playing Dylan’s songs. The Council of Croats in France filed a formal complaint over his comments in November 2012.

Council of Croats Secretary General Vlatko Maric said Monday that Parisian courts had accepted the case, but all the organization really wants is an apology. “We have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer,” Maric said. “[But] you cannot equate Croatian [war] criminals with all Croats.”

France has strict laws against hate speech, and the group says Dylan ran afoul of those laws when his comments were published in Rolling Stone's French edition.

Some would like to see those laws copied in America. But that's one European import we don't need.

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