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article imageOp-Ed: French Screen Icon Brigitte Bardot Latest Victim in Hate Speech Wars

By Johnny Simpson     Jun 3, 2008 in World
Former French Siren of the Screen Brigitte Bardot has been fined $23,000 for inciting hatred against Muslims for what Americans may consider mild remarks. This war has also been raging in Canada and, surprisingly, here in America as well.
From Brietbart, via Drudge:
France's 1960s screen icon Brigitte Bardot received a 15,000-euro (23,000 dollar) fine on Tuesday for inciting hatred against Muslims.
In December 2006, the film star-turned-animal rights activist wrote a letter to France's then interior minister, current President Nicolas Sarkozy, arguing that Muslims should stun animals before slaughtering them during the Aid al-Kabir holiday.
She outraged anti-racist groups by saying: "I've had enough of being led by the nose by this whole population which is destroying us, (and) destroying our country by imposing their ways."
Bardot, now 73 and suffering from arthritis, was absent from Tuesday's court hearing in Paris. She wrote to the court saying: "I'm sickened by how (these organisations) are harassing me."
She added: "I will not shut up until stunning is carried out" on animals before their ritual slaughter.
Bardot already has four convictions on similar charges. In 2004 she was fined 5,000 euros for inciting racial hatred in her book "Un Cri Dans le Silence" (A Cry in the Silence).
So Brigitte Bardot asks Muslims to stun animals before ritually slicing their throats, then goes on a generalized rant about Muslims bringing France down, and it cost her $23,000.
I wonder how much some of my OpEds would be costing me now in Paris.
But that's just France, right?
Actually, there was a fairly controversial case I reported on May 22nd where Crystal Dixon, an African-American Christian, was fired from her position as VP of Human Resources at the University of Toledo for expressing her Christian views in a Toledo Free Press OpEd.
In Canada, it's worse.
The Orwellian-named Alberta Commission on Human Rights has been on a full-blown witch hunt against conservative pundits and publishers, including Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, among many others.
In fact, Mark Steyn's Stalinesque show trial at the Alberta 'Human Rights Commission' is going on right now.
And I used to think free speech was a human right.
Maybe it was once in France.
Maybe it's going in Canada.
It's not much better here in America, as the Crystal Dixon case illustrates.
Here's one hell of a twisted case from the editorial pages of the Investors' Business Daily of April 16th.
The fact is, we all know hate speech when we hear it.
Asking Muslims to stun animals before slaughter, or stating that they're bringing the country down as Ms. Bardot did (not an unreasonable statement, having watched up close Muslim rioting burning down over 300 French cities and towns) may be unpopular, and even offensive, but in this humble DJ's opinion it far from qualifies as hate speech.
Certainly not enough to justify being stripped of $23,000.
It seems, like the thinning Newspeak dictionary of Orwell's 1984, there are those who believe we are becoming freer as our lexicon becomes more limited, and our speech becomes less free.
I am not one of them.
Perhaps the more troubling question is, who is deciding what constitutes free speech and hate speech in schools, governments, courts, the media and every other arena of American life?
And what right under the Constitution do they have to do it?
In my humble opinion, it is the God-given right of every human being, short of inciting violence, mayhem, 'fighting words' or racial hatred to civilly gripe, complain, and even politically attack when cause is given, and no group of offenders should be safe.
YouTube, LiveLeak and Digital Journal could not exist as they do without that right.
Freedom means the right to offend, not to be free from being offended. Chances are no matter what you say, somebody somewhere is going to be offended.
And if I am greatly offended, I will offend back.
Like I have here just now.
You know, some of our greatest film and literary works are also some of the most offensive.
In fact, our greatest document was written by highly offended men, and offended the British Crown greatly in turn.
Thank God the British weren't handing out Anger Management classes and hate speech sentences back then. Who knows where we'd be right now.
If any of you agree that Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant, Crystal Dixon and now Brigitte Bardot should be prosecuted, fined or stripped of their professions or freedom for hate speech, I'd really like to hear why.
Then again, never mind.
I've heard enough already.
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