Swastika draws Le Pen into legal feud with Madge


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The Independent Online

Madonna compared Marine Le Pen with Hitler at Paris's Stade de France reuters

Two of the world's most celebrated blondes, Madonna and Marine Le Pen, are to face off in court after the American singer showed an image of the French far right leader with a swastika on her forehead during a concert in Paris at the weekend.

The National Front (NF) said yesterday that it would bring a formal legal complaint for "making public insults" after the pop diva displayed the swastika-embellished face of Ms Le Pen as the Stade de France on Saturday night.

The same image has appeared at other concerts during Madonna's world tour. The extreme nationalist party warned last month that it would bring a legal action if it was shown in France.

Ms Le Pen's father, the NF founder, Jean-Marine Le Pen, has talked of a claim for €1,000,000 (£785,000) in damages but any punishment inflicted by a French court is likely to be much smaller.

"This is yet another provocation, intended to try to overcome [Madonna's] problems with her fans during a tour which is a complete flop," said a senior NF official, Florian Philippot, yesterday. "We can't let it pass because the connections that she is making are very grave."

While performing the song "Nobody Knows Me" Madonna was backed by a series of images on a giant screen. As at previous concerts, the images included the deposed Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, Pope Benedict XVI and Marine Le Pen, with a swastika imposed on her forehead. After a few seconds, the image of Ms Le Pen gave way to a picture of Adolf Hitler.

Madonna, 53, often makes political statements during her concerts. The 43-year-old Ms Le Pen, meanwhile, has attempted to clean up the image of the NF since she replaced her father as the party's president in January.

The anti-racism group SOS Racisme expressed its support for Madonna yesterday, commending her "resolutely anti-racist and feminist discourse."