French far right criticize selection of mixed-race girlfriend for Joan of Arc role

Incitement to racial hatred ask launched into abuse over selection for Orlans festival

A French state prosecutor has opened an inquiry into incitement to racial hatred after the process of selecting a mixed-race teen to play the kinfolk heroine Joan of Arc in annual festivities in Orleans was met with racist abuse from far-right users of social media.

Mathilde Edey Gamassou, 17, was chosen from 250 daughters on Monday to play Joan in a outpouring festival observing the Catholic warrior saint’s break-dance of the English siege of Orleans in 1429.

Gamassou, whose parent is from Benin and whose father is Polish, is to go a horse through the central city garmented in shield for the celebration, which dates back roughly six centuries.

Illustration of Joan of Arc( c1412-1431 ). Photograph: Popperfoto

The announcement was met with a flow of posts on Twitter and far-right websites, branding her pick an exercise in “diversity propaganda” and an attempt to revision history.

” Joan of Arc was white ,” speak one Twitter post.” We are white and proud of being white, don’t change our history .”

Another comment, on the anti-Muslim place Resistance Republicaine, grumbled:” Next year, Joan of Arc will be in a burqa .”

The local radio station France Bleu Orleans reported that two social media chronicles were being investigated over incitement to racial hatred after they compared the teen to a baboon and used a picture of bananas.

The women’s equality minister, Marlene Schiappa, offered her support to the student.

” The prejudiced hatred of tyrants had not yet been lieu in the French republic ,” she tweeted on Wednesday.

Benedicte Baranger, the chairman of the board in charge of choosing a girl for the character, said she was grieved by some of the reactions.

” This daughter was chosen for who she is; an interesting person and a lively spirit ,” Baranger spoke.” She responds to our four criteria: a resident of Orleans for 10 times, a student in an Orleans high school, and a Catholic who gives her is necessary to others. She will give our French record to everyone, as have previous Joans before her .”

The mayor of Orleans, Olivier Carre, also protected the teenager.

” In 2018, as for 589 times, the people of Orleans will celebrate Joan of Arc played by a young woman who testifies her courage, sect and image ,” he wrote on Twitter.” Mathilde has all these excellences .”

Outside school, Gamassou is a student of opu at the prestigious Orleans Conservatory and is reading to fence.

The end of the harsh six-month besiege of Orleans was a turning point in the hundred years conflict between France and England and the first major French victory.

Over the course of the war, between 1337 and 1453, England lost virtually all its territories on the other side of the Channel.

Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake in 1431, is a heroine for many in France but is specially adored by the far right as a typify of national resistance.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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