The legendary singer/songwriter, Bob Dylan, is being sued by a France-based Croatian organization for an alleged comment that he made last year during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. Dylan is being accused of comparing the conflict of the Serbs and Croats to the Jewish persecution by the Nazis.
“It’s a distraction. People at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back,” Dylan was quoted as saying. “Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. 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. It’s doubtful that America’s ever going to get rid of that stigmatization. It’s a country founded on the backs of slaves.”
The charges against Bob Dylan in France are illustrative of why I think hate speech laws are awful. http://t.co/j9dMynxAZI
— Jillian C. York (@jilliancyork) December 3, 2013
Vlatko Maric, secretary general of the Representative Council of the Croatian Community and Institutions, said that his organization started the case close to a year ago. Dylan was informed of the investigation last month shortly after receiving one of Paris’ most prestigious awards, the Legion of Honour.
Maric explained the organization’s decision to sue Dylan. “An entire people is being compared to criminal organizations like the Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan,” he said. “The Croatians are peaceful people who respect Bob Dylan as an artist, but we must remind him that he can’t make such remarks. We have nothing against him, but the Croatians do not want to be insulted.”
France going after Bob Dylan is dumb and it highlights many of the problems with Europe's hate speech laws http://t.co/4qaHAttsjU
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) December 3, 2013
So far, Dylan has not commented on the situation.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]