Brigette Bardot in the 1960s
French actress and general rabble-rouser Brigitte Bardot, 73, is on trial this week for inciting racial hatred in France. And this is not the first time Bardot has been on trial – since 1997, she’s been fined four times for breaking France’s strict antiracism laws. Bardot isn’t one of those silly little Hollywood types that gets her law breaking urges out of the way with a common DUI. Instead she writes angry letters about Muslims – sometimes using an animal-rights activist angle, and sometimes railing against them just because.
France (and much of the countries in Europe) has very strict antiracism laws. It is against the law to incite racial or religious discrimination or hatred of any sort. Bardot’s current trial came about after she wrote a letter in 2004 to current president (then Interior Minister) Nicolas Sarkozy in which she railed against the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Kabir. The festival traditionally includes the slaughtering of a sheep.
In the letter, which was later published in the quarterly journal belonging to Bardot’s eponymous animal-welfare foundation, the …And God Created Woman star attributed France’s perceived decline to its growing Muslim population. “I am fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its acts,” Bardot wrote. The activist group Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples, or MRAP, filed suit against her last year.
The former screen siren has been fined four times since 1997 for violating France’s strict antiracism laws, which prohibit the incitement of religious or racial hatred and discrimination. Bardot’s first conviction came for a letter published in the newspaper El Figaro in which she complained about a large influx of Muslims contributing to “foreign overpopulation.”
The assistant prosecutor of Bardot’s case noted that she was getting pretty tired of dealing with her. She asked the judge for a fine of about $24,000 and a suspended two-month prison sentence. Something tells me that won’t make Brigitte Bardot keep her thoughts to herself. It’s hard to tell if her issue is just over the animals, or about Muslims in general. From the brief mention of her first letter, it seems that she has some issues with both.
Brigette Bardot in 1990