While most of France has been showing its support for freedom of speech after the extremist killings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a Kosher supermarket last week, one French comedian has decided to test those very limits of that freedom of speech.
Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, generally known by his stage name Dieudonné, posted “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” to his Facebook account in the days after the attack. His message seemed designed to offend: Playing on the #JeSuisCharlie meme, it merged the name “Charle Hebdo” with that of Amedy Coulibaly, the man who killed four hostages in a kosher supermarket Friday. The post has since been deleted.
The 48-year-old Dieudonné is probably France’s most controversial comedian. His career began in the late 1990s when he worked in a comedy duo with his Jewish friend Élie Semoun. The pair poked fun at racial stereotypes and intolerance, but they fell out as Dieudonné began focusing more and more on France’s Jewish minority after 2002.