Bob Dyan has been charged in France for “public insult and inciting hate.”
The suit comes from 2012 comments the Jewish musicman made in a Rolling Stone interview, in which Dylan compared Croatians to the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
“If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day,” Dylan said. “Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”
A Croatian community group in France, known as CRICCF, filed a suit last year. Tuesday, a Paris prosecutor’s office formally announced that the charges had been issued last month.
“[We want] a singer who is liked and respected in Croatia, to present an apology to the Croatian people,” said Ivan Jurasinovi, a lawyer for the Croatian group.
France is home to an estimated 30,000 Croatians, and has stern laws governing hate speech and racism.
“We have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer,” Vlatko Maric, with CRICCF, told The Guardian. Maric said his objection was that Dylan equated Croatian war criminals with Croats in general.
Ironically, the suit was filed just two days before Dylan was granted the French Legion of Honor from the French government, France’s highest award.