Comedian Guillaume Meurice summoned to an interview prior to dismissal by Radio France

The France Inter comedian made the news public even before the press got hold of it

Comedian Guillaume Meurice summoned to an interview prior to dismissal by Radio France

The France Inter comedian made the news public even before the press got hold of it. In a message entitled “About freedom of expression…”, accompanied by a clown emoticon, published on prior" by Radio France, "with a view to a possible disciplinary sanction which could go as far as the early termination of [his] fixed-term contract for serious misconduct".

“For reasons beyond my control, I will not participate in the next two “Le Grand Dimanche soir” shows,” he wrote on the social network. “I have been ordered to cease all professional activity at Radio France and not to report to my workstation before the said interview,” he adds, concluding “Hasta la laughing siempre! » Pending this interview, Mr. Meurice is suspended from the airwaves in the form of protective leave.

In his column on Sunday April 28, Guillaume Meurice reiterated the comments which had sparked criticism from part of the public at the start of the season on France Inter. “If I say: Netanyahu is some kind of Nazi, but without a foreskin, it’s fine, the prosecutor said that this week. Go ahead, make mugs, t-shirts, it’s my first joke authorized by French law,” he laughed, to applause from the audience.

An outcry among some listeners

A few days earlier, the Nanterre public prosecutor's office had pronounced the dismissal, Thursday April 18, of the complaint against the comedian for "provocation to violence and anti-Semitic hatred" and "public insults of an anti-Semitic nature". “The two offenses covered by the complaint do not appear to be characterized,” said the public prosecutor, interviewed by Le Monde, Monday April 22.

The complaint was filed on November 6, 2023 by “the European Jewish Organization [and] gave rise to a preliminary investigation led by the Nanterre public prosecutor's office and entrusted to the BRDP [brigade for the repression of delinquency against the person]” after that Guillaume Meurice, on Sunday October 29, embarked on an inventory of “disguises to scare” in the run-up to Halloween. “So, at the moment, there is the Netanyahu disguise, which works quite well to scare people,” he said. See who it is? Kind of a Nazi, but without a foreskin. »

The sentence sparked an outcry among some listeners, to the point of pushing Adèle Van Reeth, director of France Inter, to speak out after receiving several hundred emails. She then condemned the death threats “which are unacceptable and criminally reprehensible” of which the comedian was the target.

Mr. Meurice had been summoned by Sibyle Veil, the CEO of Radio France, who had notified him of a “warning”, Ms. Veil assuring in an interview with La Tribune Dimanche that she did not wish to fire him, for “not sending a signal that some would have hastened to exploit.” The comedian, believing that he had not “made a mistake and was only doing his job”, announced that he would challenge this warning in court.

The Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority (Arcom), for its part, contacted at the end of October, sent a warning to public radio. The regulator considered that Guillaume Meurice's joke had "undermined the proper exercise by Radio France of its missions and the relationship of trust that it must maintain with all of its listeners" and had called for " the greatest vigilance with regard to the particularly sensitive situation linked to the conflict in the Middle East”. Contacted, Guillaume Meurice did not respond to our requests late Thursday afternoon.