The publication of the former actress Brigitte Bardot's memoirs in France yesterday caused indignation and brought accusations of racism because of her support for the far-right National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and her comments about the Muslim community in France.
A leading anti-racism campaigner, Mouloud Aounit, declared that "[Bardot] has a discourse of hatred which is in allegiance with the ideas and ideology of the National Front."
She had, in fact, told the French daily Le Figaro that she "wholeheartedly" shared Le Pen's ideas "as far as the growth of this terrifying immigration is concerned".
Mr Aounit's Movement Against Racism and Friendship Between Races is convinced that her comments are serious enough to incite discrimination and violence against immigrants. They add extra weight to the legal action launched by the organisation against Bardot for the "provocation of racial hatred" following an article written by Bardot in Le Figaro in April.
In the case, which is due to be heard by the Paris courts on 19 December, MRAP is claiming 100,000 French francs (pounds 65,000) for moral prejudice against the actress.
Bardot's support of the National Front may come as no surprise. She is married to one of Le Pen's aides, Bernard d'Ormale. But her warmth towards Le Pen has shocked many. In her book, she describes him as "a charming and intelligent man who is outraged by certain things, just like [me]".
She first met Le Pen in the Fifties when visiting victims of the Algerian war. "I don't think people should make him out to be evil," she told Elle magazine. "From what I have seen ... he is very kind."
While she stresses that she does not share all his ideas, she proudly proclaims her nationalistic tendencies. "I have the courage to stand by my ideas", she asserted. "Either people like it or they don't. And if they don't, then hard luck."
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