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London's Royal Institution shuts door on French far-right commentator Zemmour

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By Reuters
London's Royal Institution shuts door on French far-right commentator Zemmour
London's Royal Institution shuts door on French far-right commentator Zemmour   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

PARIS – London’s Royal Institution has cancelled an event organised on behalf of Eric Zemmour, a right-wing commentator and likely challenger in France’s presidential election next year, who is shaking up the campaign with his polarising language.

Zemmour has written numerous books on what he calls the erosion of France’s national identity, blaming waves of uncontrolled immigration. His divisive rhetoric on Islam and security is striking a chord with staunch conservatives.

“The Royal Institution has decided 48 hours before Eric Zemmour’s conference to cancel, by email and without explanation, the booking we had formalized two weeks ago,” a statement released by his team said late on Wednesday.

The Royal Institution, founded in the 18th century to promote science and research, said it had cancelled Friday’s event after conducting “due diligence” on Zemmour, but declined further comment.

Zemmour had hoped to speak before several hundred French expatriates living in London at the headquarters of the Royal Institution.

The cancellation was incomprehensible and damages would be sought, said the statement on behalf of Zemmour.

Zemmour, 63, has not formally declared his candidacy for France’s presidential election next year, but he is behaving every bit the challenger. Opinion polls show he could reach the second-round runoff vote.

Zemmour, who in his book draws parallels between himself and former U.S. President Donald Trump, on Wednesday left his lawyers to represent him on the first day of a trial in which he is accused of inciting racial hatred.