Racist slur puts Brigitte Bardot in court again

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The Independent Online
IS Brigitte Bardot a racist? The retired actress turned animal campaigner denies it stoutly. But she faces a second stiff fine this week for "provocation of racial hatred". Judging by her own words, it will not be the last.

The former film star has long campaigned against the observation in France of the Islamic festival of Aid-El-Kebir, when sheep and goats are ritually slaughtered by having their throats cut. But the campaign has acquired a more sinister dimension, with the horrific events in Algeria and Ms Bardot's movement into the orbit of the far-right National Front.

At her last court appearance in December, Ms Bardot, 63, still one of the best-known faces in the world, made an explicit connection between the slaughter of animals in Islamic rituals and the slaughter of people by fundamentalist groups in Algeria.

Islamists have a "mania for throat-cutting", she said. "I'm not making it up. You just have to look at the television." She said she was "proud" of writing in a newspaper article: "They are cutting the throats of women and children, our monks and our officials. They'll cut our throats one day and it will serve us right."

On Tuesday, the court will issue its judgment on whether Ms Bardot is guilty - for the second time - of "provocation of hatred and racial discrimination". Last October an appeal court fined her pounds 1,000 for a similar article attacking the ritual of animal killing, which talked of France being "invaded" by Muslims. A lower court had originally ruled her words to be acceptable under the right of freedom of speech.

There can be no doubt about the sincerity, and intensity, of Ms Bardot's commitment to animal welfare. Her Paris-based foundation intervenes in scores of pro-animal causes. But her revulsion for the slaughter of sheep and goats has increasingly converged with the politics of her fourth husband, Bernard d'Ormale, a former adviser to the NF leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Ms Bardot denies that she supports the NF. "I defend animals, right-wing and left-wing animals," she told Paris Match. She wrote admiringly, however, about the "lovely, intelligent" Mr Le Pen in her autobiography in 1996.