Madonna Faces Lawsuit in France Over Swastika Use
A recent concert in Paris has proven to have fallout for Madonna who is expected to be sued by France's Front National party for screening a video with an image of right wing politician Marine Le Pen with a swastika superimposed on her face.
Madonna screened the footage in Tel Aviv earlier this year, and the FN party spoke out against the music star, but chose not to pursue her in court, threatening only that if she brought the video to France, there would be trouble. Le Pen warned, "If she does that in France, we'll be waiting for her."
Despite the warnings, Madonna has crossed the French borderline with the video and screened it for the more than 70,000 people who attended her concert on Saturday at the Stade de France.
The video was projected onto a huge screen and includes Le Pen's face and also Madonna's and those of other public figures like Pope Benedict, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Hu Jintao and Sarah Palin during the singer's performance of "Nobody Knows Me." Watch below.
Le Pen's face appears for just a few seconds with a swastika superimposed on it before the video cuts to the image of a man resembling Adolf Hitler.
"We can't accept this!" FN vice-president Florian Philippot told French press of what she called a "very serious insult," adding: "Marine Le Pen is defending her own honor, but also that of the Front National's members, its supporters and its millions of voters."
Le Pen's team says a private plaintiff's case for public insult will be presented to the Paris courts in the coming days.
No word yet on what Le Pen is seeking in damages, but her father, FN leaders Jean-Marie Le Pen, spoke out in Lyon in early June recommending that his daughter "ask Madame Madonna -- and everyone who organized her international show -- for $1 million."
"Showing Marine Le Pen's image with a swastika is like saying she is a nazi," the FN party's lawyer Me Wallerand de Saint-Just told Gallic press.
French anti-racism group SOS Racisme, however, has come out to support Madonna, calling the video "resolutely anti-racist and feminist" and showing that "that the fight against discrimination is a fundamental combat," the group said in a statement.
While the FN have not been shy about their anti-Semitic or racist leanings in the past, Le Pen has made concerted efforts to branch away from her father Jean-Marie's legacy and even managed to win over 20% of voters during the first round of France's Presidential elections this year.
Madonna is scheduled to perform another concert in Nice on August 21 as part of her multi-city tour that includes more than 80 performances.