Bob Dylan’s Comments Spark “Racism” Investigation in France

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 2 2013 8:27 PM

Bob Dylan’s Comments Spark “Racism” Investigation in France

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Bob Dylan performs on June 21, 1981 in Toulouse.

Photo by DANIEL JANIN/AFP/Getty Images

French officials announced on Monday that Bob Dylan is under investigation in the country for allegedly “racist” comments made by the singer last year where he equated Croatians to Nazis and the KKK. The comment, made in an interview, caused a Croatian association in France to file a complaint with French authorities last year. The Paris courts will hear the case and have asked Dylan to appear at the hearing, the Guardian reports.

The comments in question were made by Dylan in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2012, where he discussed race relations in America.

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, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.
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The reference, the BBC reports, is to the Croat Ustashe fascist movement during World War Two that killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma. The Croat association alleges that “the comments as carried in the French version of the magazine violated French racial hatred laws,” Reuters reports. Any complaint of racism is automatically investigated in France without consideration to the merits of the case.

Dylan was served with notice of the investigation last month when he was in Paris to received the Legion of Honour award.  The Croat group said it is only seeking an apology.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.