French authorities announced an investigation of French comedian Dieudonné for “advocating terrorism” following his Facebook post after the Paris attacks.
“Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly”, the comedian wrote, playing the expression “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) off a reference to Friday’s kosher supermarket attacker Amedy Coulibaly.
Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve referred to the comedian’s remarks as “contemptible” when he visited the heart of Paris’ Jewish community. In response to Cazeneuve’s remarks, Dieudonné said the government is trying to “ruin my life when I am only trying to make people laugh.” He then removed the Facebook post.
Dieudonné is known for creating the quenelle, an inverted Nazi salute. In 2013, French soccer player Nicolas Anelka was suspended for five games for making the hand gesture. The comedian also drew criticism for his post following the rally in Paris attended by over a million people, calling it “a magical moment comparable to the Big Bang.”
The French government has banned Dieudonné’s shows because it considers them anti-Semitic. The comedian will now be tried in court for his remarks and could face between five to seven years in prison and up to an 100,000 euro fine. His lawyer responded to the charges by saying: “We live in the country of freedom of speech?…The government must provide proof.”
In September the court opened an investigation against Dieudonné following a video in which he joked about the beheading of James Foley by ISIS.