The front page of the French weekly magazine Minute has led to a legal probe into alleged racism. It says, “Clever as a monkey, Taubira gets her banana back.” Banana is French slang for smile.
Christine Taubira is the French Justice Minister. The court’s preliminary investigation will be on a possible charge of racist insult which is punishable by up to six months in jail and fines of up to 25,000 euros.
“We must understand that those who are targeted by racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic comments are not just targeted as persons. Evidently I feel for those who are, for those who appear to be. And in this regard we must remind ourselves that it is not about giving an opinion, it is an offense which must be punished,” said Christiane Taubira
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged a full in inquiry into whether the magazine cover broke laws against hate speech. The government blamed the far right.
“The front page from this newspaper of the far right which is unfortunately well known is revolting. It is also intolerable,” said the French Interior Minister Manuel Vals.
Such attacks have not been limited to France. Cecile Kyenge, who was appointed to the Italian government earlier this year and was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been the target of racial slurs since becoming integration minister.