Far-right French presidential candidate Zemmour fined for racist comments

JAN 17, 2022 LISTEN

The Paris Criminal Court has slapped French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour with a 10,000 euro fine for racist hate speech after he called unaccompanied child migrants "thieves, murderers and rapists."

Zemmour's comments during a debate on CNews, a conservative French news channel in September 2020 sparked outrage. After the insult, he added: “That's all they are. We should send them back.”

He will need to pay 100 euros per day for 100 days, or be jailed if he failed to pay up.

Cnews Director Jean-Christophe Thiery was also fined 3,000 euros.

"A judgment has just been rendered but justice has not yet been served," Olivier Pardo, Zemmour's lawyer said, adding that his client, who didn't appear in court, would appeal.

The plaintiffs in the case were a number of anti-racism groups and 20 departmental councils that deal with unaccompanied child migrants.

The far-right political pundit said last year that the case was "nothing other than another attempt to intimidate me", adding that he would not alter his approach.

Same hate, different day

This is not the first time Zemmour has been brought in front of a judge for hate speech—he has been investigated 16 times in the past for his inflammatory comments, notably on immigration and Islam.

He was ordered to pay 3,000 euros for commenting about a Muslim “invasion” of France, and in 2011 he had to shell out 10,000 euros for asserting on television that "most drug dealers are black and Arab."

Although posturing as the right-wing answer to the French presidency, he has had a hard time finding the requisite 500 signatures from elected officials before mid-March in order to put his name on the ballot.

French voters go to the polls in April to pick their candidate for president.

Zemmour admitted that he might not make it on the ballot if more mayors and others do not step up to back him.

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