Prominent French commentator Eric Zemmour charged for inciting racial bias

New York Times – February 18, 2011

A French court convicted the prominent commentator Eric Zemmour on charges of “provocation to racial discrimination” for televised comments in which he suggested that a majority of criminals in France were “black and Arab,” and said that employers “have the right” to deny employment to those ethnic groups. Mr. Zemmour was ordered to pay over $14,000 in legal fees and damages to the five rights groups that were the plaintiffs in the case, and also received suspended fines totaling $2,700. The commentator had “gone beyond the permitted bounds of the right to freedom of speech,” the court wrote in its decision, adding that Mr. Zemmour had a particular responsibility to respect those limits as a “professional of the media and of expression.” Mr. Zemmour’s lawyer, Olivier Pardo, said his client had not yet decided if he would appeal the decision.