PARIS (Reuters) – The American singer Bob Dylan is being investigated in France after a Croatian community organization alleged that comments he made to Rolling Stone magazine last year amounted to incitement to racial hatred, Paris prosecutors said on Monday.
In the interview, published in the magazine’s September 27, 2012 edition, the singer said racism was holding America back.
“If you got a slave master or (Ku Klux) Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that,” he was quoted as saying. “That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”
The formal investigation followed a legal complaint from the organization, CRICCF, which is based in France, alleging that the comments as carried in the French version of the magazine violated French racial hatred laws.
In France, racism complaints automatically trigger formal investigations, irrespective of the merits of the case.
Dylan was awarded France’s prestigious Legion d’Honneur award last month in Paris. Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said that, for French people, he embodied a “subversive cultural force that can change people and the world”.
CRICCF did not return an email seeking comment. Dylan’s manager did not immediately respond to a phone call. Rolling Stone said it had no comment.