Last year (13 November 2013) French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira was subject to several attacks including one slur by the right-wing magazine Minute, which put her on the cover with slogan ‘clever as a monkey’ and used the subtitle ‘Taubira retrouve la banane’ (Taubira finds her banana; banana also means ‘smile’). The Franco-Caribbean politician was also depicted as the face of “Banania”—a brand that traditionally used to use simplistic, insensitive representations of Africans. Now, the director of Minute, Jean-Marie Molitor, was fined 10,000 euros for allowing the circulation of such a crude (yes, racist) depiction.
Samuel Thomas, vice-president of the Anti-Racist Association “Maison des Potes” says that the punishment is laughable and not commensurate with the injury addressed to Taubira or with the damages it inflicts one French society as a whole. [See previous post Christiane Taubira: ELLE’s Woman of the Year.]
Shortly before the release of the ‘clever as a monkey’ label, Mrs Taubira had been the target of racist comments by opponents of gay marriage and by Anne-Sophie Leclere, a former French National Front candidate who was sentenced to nine months in prison by the criminal court of Cayenne (French Guiana).
After the publication, which sparked a wave of indignation, minister Taubira denounced the remarks as a form of “extreme violence” that denied her “belonging to the human species.” Politicians on all sides and anti-racist activists supported her.
For full articles (in French), see http://www.martinique.franceantilles.fr/actualite/politique/taubira-comparee-a-un-singe-minute-condamne-277849.php and (with video) http://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/taubira-comparee-a-un-singe-10-000-euros-d-amende-pour-le-directeur-de-minute-30-10-2014-4253021.php