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Culture/FRANCE

French court backs ban on Avignon show by controversial comedian Dieudonné

The contract for Dieudonné's show in Avignon has been cancelled by the venue's manager.
The contract for Dieudonné's show in Avignon has been cancelled by the venue's manager. AFP

A show by controversial French comic Dieudonné will not open in the southern city of Avignon Saturday as scheduled after a court ruled that the venue's operator could cancel the lease.

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The venue contract for Dieudonné's performance was cancelled by a public-funded Avignon tourism company due to the "opacity" of the contents of his show.

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The comedian has been found guilty of anti-Semitism on more than one occasion and last year several of his shows were banned.

A court in Nîmes, near Avignon, on Tuesday refused an urgent appeal by Dieudonné's lawyer Jacques Verdier after an Avignon judge ruled in favour of the company.

The lease was cancelled in December, four months after it was signed.

While tickets for the show were sold as Dieudonné Tour, the performance was listed on his website as The Filthy Beast, a lawyer for the company told the AFP news agency.

A clause in the lease made it mandatory for Dieudonné's production company to inform the venue's manager of the show's content.

His lawyer says he is "appalled" and will make a claim in court for compensation.

The controversial comedian was charged in January after writing “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” on Facebook following the Paris terror attacks.

His arrest was one of dozens of cases opened for “condoning terrorism”.

Dieudonné has also come under fire for his trademark “quenelle” hand gesture that looks like an inverted Nazi salute, which he insists is merely anti-establishment and not anti-Semitic as has been charged.

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