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French magazine slammed for sketch depicting politician Danièle Obono as slave

A FRENCH right-wing magazine has been slammed for publishing a sketch which depicts a black socialist MP as a slave.

The publication Valeurs actuelles – meaning ‘current values’ – printed the picture showing politician Danièle Obono wearing an iron collar around her neck.

The sketch came as part of an article accusing Africans of colluding in slavery.

Obono, who was born in Gabon and is a deputy in the National Assembly for the left-wing party France Unbowed, tweeted the image with the caption: ‘The far right – odious, stupid and cruel.’

She later wrote: ‘This image is an insult to my ancestors, my family and my political movement. An indelible stain’.

‘And I am more determined than ever to fight against #racism, for freedom, equality and fraternity,’ she added.

Daniele Obono: This image is an insult to my ancestors

The magazine has apologised to Obono but maintains that the article was not racist.

Meanwhile, MPs across the political spectrum have spoken up to condemn the magazine.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex called Valeurs actuelles a ‘revolting publication.’

He said: ‘This shocking publication calls for an unambiguous condemnation. I share the indignation of the deputy Danièle Obono and assure her of the support of the whole Government.

‘The fight against racism will always transcend all our divisions.’

Equalities minister Élisabeth Moreno also criticised the publication.

She tweeted: ‘Total condemnation of this publication. To defend racism is contrary to republican values. I do not share the ideas of @Deputee_Obono , but today I give her my full support.’

Wallerand De Saint-Just, a senior figure in the far-right National Rally, also slammed image, saying it showed ‘contempt for her.’

Massive protests erupted in France in June and July against colonial-era slavery and racism as the Black Lives Matter movement rippled across the world in the wake of the US police killing of George Floyd.

President Macron has vowed to combat racism but he said France would not remove controversial statues of colonial-era figures.

In a statement on Twitter, the magazine said it had placed Ms Obono back in the context of 18th Century slavery as part of a fictional feature series.

The publication said: ‘Our text is not racist at all. It is convenient for our opponents to throw that accusation at us.’ It added that the illustrations ‘reinforce the inherent cruelty of the subject itself. We are clear-sighted enough to understand that the person most affected, Ms Danièle Obono, could have felt personally hurt by this fiction. We regret that and apologise to her.’

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