French President Emmanuel Macron led nationwide outrage on Saturday after an ultra-conservative magazine portrayed a black lawmaker as a slave.
The French Presidency said Macron called Danielle Obono of the left-wing France Unbowed party and “expressed his clear condemnation of all forms of racism”.
Valeurs Actuelles magazine, aimed at right-wing and far-right readers, featured Obono in chains with an iron collar around the neck to illustrate a seven-page imaginary story.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said it was “a disgusting publication that calls for clear condemnation” and told Obono that it had the government’s support.
“I share the indignation of the Obono legislature,” he said.
“You are free to write a lazy novel within the legal limits. You can hate it. I hate it,” said Justice Secretary Eric Dupond-Moretti.
Obono tweeted, “The extreme right – hideous, stupid and cruel. In short, like yourself.”
The anti-racism organization SOS Racisme regretted the increasing hate speech against African and Arab politicians and said it was considering what legal measures could be taken to counter this.
The magazine, however, denied it was racist, saying the story about Obono was “a fiction … but never evil”.
An official with France’s far-right national rally party Wallerand de Saint-Just said the story was “utterly distasteful”.
France witnessed several protests against racial injustice, colonial and police brutality inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and George Floyd’s death on the knee of the US police in June and July.
Macron, a centrist who raised his eyebrows in an interview with Valeurs Actuelles last year and praised it as a “good magazine”, has pledged to eradicate racism.
But he also said France would not dismantle statues of figures associated with the colonial era or the slave trade, as has recently happened in other countries.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)