Back in 2008 a French rapper, Monsieur R (real name Richard Makela), appeared in court charged with “offending public decency” for a song titled “slut”. In the song he referred to France as being a “slut” and said he would “piss on Napoleon and Charles De Gaulle”.
An MP from the UMP party launched legal action against him over the song taken from his album Politikment Incorrekt.
While the song may not be to many people’s tastes, this highlights the inconsistency the French have with free speech and artistic expression. Are we seeing double standards with publications such as Charlie Hebdo being allowed to express anti-Muslim propaganda whilst other equally “poor taste” works are deemed unacceptable?
Back in 2006, while the court case was still on-going, the NME reported:
MP Daniel Mach proposed a law making it a criminal offence to insult the dignity of France and the French state upon hearing the album. He has since taken action against Makela, 30, for making and disseminating “violent and pornographic messages” to which minors could get access.
The case is the latest in a series of stand-offs between MPs and rap stars. In 2003, Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister, brought a criminal case against the rap band Sniper, saying their music was anti-semitic, racist and insulting.
In one song, ‘La France’, they referred to their home country as a “bitch”. The case was thrown out of court last year. The same lawyer who defended Sniper is acting for Makela.
Makela, who maws born and brought up in neighbouring Belgium, told Le Parisien he did not target any particular group but rapped against “the system”.