A Croatian community association based in France is suing Bob Dylan over alleged racist comments made in a Rolling Stone cover story last year. According to Business Insider, the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF) have filed suit against Dylan and the French magazine for comments made in an interview for the September 2012 issue.
When asked if he saw parallels between 1860s Civil War and present day America, Dylan responded:
“This country is just too fucked up about color. It’s a distraction. People at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that.
“That stuff lingers to this day,” he added. “Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”
The council claims the comments constitute a racial slur towards them and has since decided to file a suit against Dylan and the French branch of Rolling Stone magazine. “It is an incitement to hatred. You cannot compare Croatian criminals to all Croats,” said Vlatko Marić, secretary general of the organisation and member of the Croatian World Congress to the International Business Times.
Then added, “but we have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer.” Tensions between Croats and Serbs have been long existent and surfaced during a brutal war in the 1990s that culminated in the break up of Yugoslavia.
The suit comes just weeks after Dylan, a prominent supporter of the US civil rights movement, was awarded the French Legion of Honor, the country’s highest military and civil decoration.
The case could take up to 18 months to decided and due to France’s strict free speech laws, if found guilty, Dylan and the magazine could face a fine and formal sanction.