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French Rapper Facing Criminal Prosecution for Antisemitism on Hit Debut Album

A French rapper whose debut album reached number three on the country’s charts after its release last week is facing criminal prosecution for lyrics on several tracks that promote crude antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

In an announcement on Thursday, Gerald Darmanin — France’s interior minister — denounced rapper Freeze Corleone for his “unspeakable antisemitism and negationism” and confirmed that his ministry would be pursuing legal action. Darmanin also called on Twitter and Facebook “not to spread this filth.”

In addition to Darmanin’s condemnation, fifty members of the French parliament wrote to the Ministry of Justice demanding the rapper’s prosecution, while former cabinet minister Christophe Castaner said that he had referred the case to the Paris public prosecutor.

Released on Sept. 11, Freeze Corleone’s first studio album, “The Phantom Menace,” was replete with “antisemitism, conspiracy theories, and apologies for Hitler, the Third Reich and [Afghan Taliban commander] Mullah Omar,” according to LICRA, a prominent French NGO that campaigns against racism and antisemitism.

Several media commentators expressed alarm at the brisk sales of the album in France, where Holocaust denial and antisemitic and racist invective can result in criminal penalties.

Within three days of its release, “The Phantom Menace” had sold more than 15,000 copies and attracted 5.2 million listeners on the Spotify digital music platform.

The rapper’s lyrics include exhortations to “F_k the Shoah (Holocaust)!” along with lines such as, “I arrive determined like Adolf in the 1930s,” and, “Every day I f_k Israel like I live in Gaza.”

Writing in the news outlet Marianne, commentator Paul Didier observed that Freeze Corleone’s antisemitism was based on the belief “that the emphasis on the suffering of Jews in history, and in the twentieth century in particular, would neutralize the recognition of the crimes of slavery or colonization in Africa.”

“Freeze Corleone clearly puts the memory of the Shoah in opposition to that of other crimes or genocides,” Didier wrote.

The head of the UEJF — the French Jewish student organization — pointed out that “The Phantom Menace” was still being played on Skyrock FM, one of France’s most popular music stations.

“One could call it the spread of organized gang antisemitism at this point,” Noemie Madar said on Twitter.