French actress-turned-animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot was convicted Thursday of inciting racial hatred and ordered to pay $6,000 — the fourth such fine for the former sex symbol since 1997.
The Paris court sentenced Bardot, 69, for remarks in her book “A Scream in the Silence,” an outspoken attack on gays, immigrants and the jobless that shocked France last year.
In the book, she laments the “Islamization of France” and the “underground and dangerous infiltration of Islam.”
“Mme. Bardot presents Muslims as barbaric and cruel invaders, responsible for terrorist acts and eager to dominate the French to the extent of wanting to exterminate them,” the court said.
France’s 5-million-member Muslim community is the largest in Europe.
Bardot, who was not present for the verdict, denied the charges in a tearful court appearance last month, saying her book did not target Islam or people from North Africa.
She told the court France was going through a period of decadence and said she opposed interracial marriage.
“I was born in 1934, at that time interracial marriage wasn’t approved of,” she said.
“There are many new languages in the new Europe. Mediocrity is taking over from beauty and splendor. There are many people who are filthy, badly dressed and badly shaven.”
In her book, she also attacks homosexuals as “fairground freaks,” condemns the presence of women in government and denounces the “scandal of unemployment benefits.”
Bardot’s attacks on Muslims prompted anti-racism groups to launch legal proceedings against the former star, who turned her back on film after 46 films to concentrate on animal welfare.
Bardot, who in her 1960s heyday was the epitome of French feminine beauty, was fined $3,250 in January 1998 after being convicted of inciting racial hatred in comments about civilian massacres in Algeria.
Four months earlier, a court fined her for saying France was being overrun by sheep-slaughtering Muslims.