France’s top court, the Council of State, has upheld a ban on the comedian Dieudonne, who is accused by the government of anti-Semitism.
The first show in his nationwide tour was called off minutes before he was due to go on stage on Thursday night and now his next performance in the central French city of Tours has also been axed.
Defending the move, France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls said: “The time of impunity is over for these kind of ideas. We will act with strong determination.”
But Dieudonne’s lawyer, Jacques Verdier, maintains his client’s freedom of speech is being curtailed.
“The court and the government talk of him endangering public order. But there is a double standard and because they’re clearly making an attempt to shut this man down,” said Verdier.
Dieudonne, 46, has been repeatedly fined for hate speech and local authorities in several towns across France have barred his shows on the grounds of risk to public order.
Dieudonne has never paid any of his numerous fines for anti-Semitic outbursts, claiming his Theatre du Main d’Or in Paris has taken all his money and made him bankrupt.