France opens investigation after magazine portrays black politician as slave

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PARIS – The Paris prosecutor’s office announced on Monday that it was opening an investigation into an alleged racist insult after a French right-wing magazine published an article with an illustration depicting a black MP as a slave.

The article of the magazine Valeurs Actuelles, entitled “Obono the African”, gives a fictional account of the politician Daniele Obono returning to Africa in the 18th century. She is pictured with an iron collar around her neck.

Obono, born in Gabon, represents a district in the north of Paris in parliament.

The song aroused outrage from all political circles in France, including Prime Minister Jean Castex, who described it as “revolting”.

Making a racist insult in public is a crime in France that can be punished with a fine or a prison.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Saturday, Valeurs Actuelles apologized to Obono but denied that the article was racist. The magazine could not be reached immediately for comment on the investigation on Monday.

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