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Bob Dylan Charged With Hate Crime In France

Bob Dylan
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Given that songs like ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ ‘Only a Pawn in Their Game’ and ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’ perfectly captured the mood of the Civil Rights Movement, you’d think Bob Dylan would be one of the last people to be accused of racism. But the legendary songwriter has officially been accused by French authorities of “public insult and inciting hate.”

As we reported yesterday, the Council of Croats, a community group for Croatians living in France, had filed suit against Dylan for comments he made in a September 2012 interview in Rolling Stone. Speaking about the state of race relations in modern America, he broadened his scope to the rest of the world, saying, “If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”

Today, the Associated Press is saying that preliminary charges in the case were filed in mid-November, shortly before Dylan, ironically, received the Legion d’Honneur from France’s Ministry of Culture. Authorities questioned Dylan about the remarks during his stay in France.

According to Agence des Feuilles Politiques, it is illegal in France to incite “discrimination, hatred or violence with regard to a person or group of people on the grounds of their origin or of their membership or non-membership of an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a religion.”

Ivan Jurasinovic, a representative of the Council of Croats, says that they are not looking for financial retribution, but for Dylan, “a singer who is liked and respected in Croatia, to present an apology to the Croatian people.”

Next: Top 10 Bob Dylan Protest Songs

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