The Council of State rejected Friday evening March 17 the appeal of the city of Rennes which wanted to prohibit the rapper Freeze Corleone from performing on stage in the town on Saturday, considering that this concert does not present "proven risks" of provoking troubles.
On February 28, the socialist mayor of Rennes, Nathalie Appéré, issued a municipal decree prohibiting the singer's show scheduled as part of a festival, highlighting in particular a risk of "public order disturbances" due to words "deemed anti-Semitic".
But Freeze Corleone – Issa Diakhaté for civil status – had seized the administrative court of Rennes which had suspended the municipal decree. The town hall immediately announced that it was filing an appeal with the Council of State.
After hearing the case on Friday, the latter considered in his order that it did not result "that the holding of the litigious concert would give rise to a proven risk of the commission of an offense likely to undermine respect for human dignity and characterize a disturbance of public order".
"Serious attack on freedom of expression"
"By issuing the contested prohibition order, the mayor of Rennes has seriously and manifestly illegally violated freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of enterprise", adds the Council of State .
To justify its ban on the concert, the city of Rennes cited in particular the opening of an investigation in 2020 concerning Freeze Corleone for "lyrics deemed anti-Semitic, advocating Nazism and terrorism".
But "this investigation led to a dismissal a year later on the grounds that the facts (…) were time-barred", underlines the Council of State.
In addition, "if it results from the investigation that the rapper Freeze Corléone wrote and sang texts, the content of which is not disputed, containing passages making positive reference to Nazism and clearly of an anti-Semitic character" , the artist assures "that these texts are no longer those which make up his concerts today" and that he will not perform them in Rennes, adds the order.
The rapper is scheduled for March 18 as part of the "Boomin fest Rennes" rap festival, which is sold out.
A rising figure in French rap, Freeze Corleone was released in September 2020 by his label, Universal Music, which denounced "unacceptable racist remarks". On Youtube, his clips total several million views.