In America we are accustomed to celebrities publicly virtue-signaling their conformist Progressive contempt for flyover Americans and spewing their profane hatred of President Trump in interviews and social media. They have every right to do this, and without fear of government suppression, because the United States is (for now) blessed with a degree of freedom of speech found nowhere else in the world. Meanwhile in Europe, one of the most celebrated entertainment icons in France’s history has been repeatedly criminalized and fined for speaking her mind.
Breitbart News reports that Brigitte Bardot, former sizzling sex symbol and current fierce animal rights activist, is being charged – yet again – with hate speech and incitement to racial hatred, this time after condemning the religious practices of some inhabitants of the French-ruled island of Réunion near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
Réunion is largely Christian, but a Hindu minority still carries on certain rituals involving the gruesome sacrifice of goats, dogs, and cats. Animal rights groups have long condemned abuses there. The 84-year-old Bardot, who in 1986 created an organization dedicated to animal protection called The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, bluntly expressed her displeasure in a letter to the authorities of the island, in which she declared the practices to be “demonic” and sadistic, and labeled those responsible as “aboriginals who have kept the genes of savages.”
Unsurprisingly, the prefect of Réunion did not take this criticism kindly and called on the courts to indict Bardot for inciting racial hatred. Equally unsurprisingly, Bardot was unapologetic and declared that she fully intended to keep speaking out against the abuse of animals everywhere.
Bardot has been charged with inciting racial hatred so many times in the past that in 2008 a French prosecutor stated she was weary of doing it. In 1997, she was convicted merely for complaining of “foreign over-population” in France, mostly by Muslim families, in a letter to Le Figaro. The following year she was convicted again just for lamenting the loss of French identity due to the “multiplication of mosques while our church bells fall silent for want of priests.” Then in June 2000, she was convicted for a chapter in her book Pluto’s Square called "Open Letter to My Lost France," in which Bardot wrote that “my country, France, my homeland, my land is again invaded by an overpopulation of foreigners, especially Muslims” – a demonstrably true comment which earned her a fine of 30,000 francs from a French court.
In 2004, in another book, A Cry in the Silence, Bardot was convicted for linking Islam to the 9/11 terror attacks (!) and again for denouncing the Islamization of her beloved France. “I do not hold religious Muslims in high esteem,” she stated in her introduction, decrying the inhumane halal method of animal sacrifice during the festival of Eid. “We were disturbed by their barbaric practices; we went to court; we condemned their unacceptable behavior which left homes covered in blood, and filled rubbish chutes with skin, bone and oozing brains. To no avail!” She also wrote, “Over the last twenty years, we have given in to a subterranean, dangerous, and uncontrolled infiltration, which not only resists adjusting to our laws and customs but which will, as the years pass, attempt to impose its own.” For these comments, in June, 2004 Bardot was convicted for a fourth time by a French court and fined 5,000 euros.
In 2008, Bardot was convicted of inciting racial/religious hatred for writing a letter to Nicolas Sarkozy when he was Interior Minister of France, objecting again to French Muslims ritually slaughtering sheep by slitting their throats without first anesthetizing them. She also plainly stated that she was “fed up with being under the thumb of this [Muslim] population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its habits.” She was fined 15,000 euros.
In a 2013 online article about Bardot’s numerous convictions, author Michèle Finck poses the question, “Should a world famous actress be allowed to denounce an ‘overpopulation’ by foreigners?” Finck’s conclusion is no: “I believe these convictions were justified. This series of cases illustrates that, despite the right to free speech being worthy of protection, it should not be used to incite hatred against a group of people. As such, free speech cannot be invoked to legitimise Islamophobic comments.”
The problem, of course, is that criminalizing “hate speech” or “Islamophobia” empowers those who get to determine what qualifies for those labels. It empowers those who exploit those laws to silence their critics. That is precisely why such categories have been invented and pushed relentlessly by factions who want to undermine the free speech of others in order to advance their own agenda. The result is that France and too many other Western countries live under the thumb of de facto Islamic blasphemy laws, where any criticism of Islam, no matter how legitimate, is silenced as “hate speech” and “racism” (even though Islam is not a race).
Thus, British citizens cannot tweet their outrage about Muslim rape gangs without incurring a visit from the police. Austrian free speech activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff cannot “defame” Islam’s prophet Muhammad without being hauled before the European Court of Human Rights. And even someone of Brigitte Bardot’s beloved status cannot say something as arguably true as the fact that mass Muslim migration is radically transforming European culture without incurring onerous fines and even possible imprisonment (which Bardot has narrowly avoided). In America too we are facing challenges to our First Amendment from the radical left and their Islamic allies, which we must resist at all costs.
Bardot, who abandoned her movie career over 40 years ago, may be a misanthropist (in her forthcoming book she declares that she finds peace only with animals), but she loves her country and her culture. “I am very patriotic,” she affirms. “I was raised by a father and a grandfather who fought for France and instilled in me a love of my homeland. I am not proud of what France is today.” Recently she has expressed support for the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protest movement and for Front National leader Marine le Pen, whom she endorsed in the 2017 French presidential election, calling her “the Joan of Arc of the 21st century.” (Bardot's current husband – her fourth – is Bernard d'Ormale, former adviser to Jean-Marie Le Pen, father of Marine and former leader of the Front National.)
When she challenges the multiculturalist government elites by daring to voice valid concerns about the Islamization of her country, Brigitte Bardot speaks for millions of Europeans wrestling with the same threat but who don’t have her cultural status, her financial resources – and her fearlessness.