Bob Dylan Sued for Racism & Charged With Unusual Crime in France
Welp, this is awkward. According to The Guardian, Bob Dylan has been charged with "public insult" in France for remarks he made in a 2012 interview that seemed to compare Croatians to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. The comments are from a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone to promote his LP, "Tempest." When asked if he thinks there are any parallels between America in the 1860s and America in the present day, Dylan commented:
This country is just too fucked up about color. It's a distraction. People at each other's throats just because they are of a different color. It's the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.
After the interview was published, a legal complaint against Dylan was reportedly filed by the French organization CRICCF — or, Conseil représentatif de la Communauté et des Institutions croates de France — who were claiming that the version of Dylan's comments that ran in the French version of Rolling Stone were in direct violation of France's racial hatred laws. A formal investigation followed, resulting in charges being filed against Dylan for "public insult and inciting hate" against Croatians.
The lawyer representing the group, Ivan Jurasinovic, commented that the group is not seeking monetary damages from Dylan or to take him to court, but they would like the singer to issue a formal apology for the remarks. Dylan, he says, "a singer who is liked and respected in Croatia, [should] present an apology to the Croatian people."
So far, there has been no comment from Dylan on the charges.