Facebook said Monday it has permanently banned French comedian Dieudonne, a convicted antisemite, from both its main site –where he has at least 1.3 million followers – and from Instagram.
Some of Dieudonne’s posts used “dehumanizing terms against Jews,” Facebook said.
“In line with our policy on dangerous individuals and organizations, we have permanently banned Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala from Facebook and Instagram,” the company said in a statement, using his full name.
“Banning a person permanently from our services is a decision that we always weigh carefully, but individuals and organizations that attack others on the basis of what they are do not have a place on Facebook or Instagram,” the social media giant added.
“Let there be no compromise with hatred!” said France’s Minister of Equality Elisabeth Moreno, who welcomed the measure and hoped for “more such decisions.”
“Reducing hatred on the Internet and social networks requires a strong commitment from digital players, associations and the State. We are progressing…” tweeted Frédéric Potier, Interministerial Delegate for the fight against racism.
The French government has tried on several occasions to shut down the shows of Dieudonne, who attacks the “Zionist lobby” that he claims controls the world.
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, 54, known by his stage name Dieudonne, is a French comedian, actor and political activist who has been convicted for hate speech, advocating terrorism, and slander in Belgium and France.
His YouTube channel, with 400,000 followers, was cut off for similar reasons by Google in June.
The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) welcomed the ban as a “great victory”, saying Dieudonne’s posts “have done considerable and irreparable damage among young people.”
“The air is more breathable this morning on social networks. An anti-Semite has stopped broadcasting!” it added.
The performer is infamous for his signature “quenelle” hand gesture that looks like an inverted Nazi salute but which he insists is merely anti-establishment.
Last year, Dieudonne was fined 9,000 euros ($10,600) for posting an antisemitic video, and was given a two-year jail sentence and
fined for tax fraud and money-laundering, under arrangements that allow him to perform community service instead.
During the January 2015 attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, he received a two-month suspended jail term after saying he sympathized with one of the jihadists involved.
In 2013, Dieudonne was recorded during a performance suggesting that it was a pity that a Jewish journalist was not sent to the gas chambers. Manuel Valls, then-French Interior Minister, declared that Dieudonne was “no longer a comedian” but was rather an “anti-Semite and a racist,” and that he would seek to ban all his public events as public safety risks.
Dieudonne has also been known to associate with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran from 2005 to 2013 and an avid Holocaust denier. Ahmadinejad tweeted in February 2015: “Visiting an old friend, a great artist,” and posted photographs of himself and Dieudonne, arms around each other, smiling. The two also met in 2009 when he visited Iran, where they reportedly discussed their shared anti-Zionist views.