February 8, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10474

French Antisemitic Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala: I Ask For Forgiveness

February 8, 2023
Special Dispatch No. 10474

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala is a French comedian and former political activist. In 2007, he and French ultranationalist leader Jean-Marie Le Pen joined political forces. M'bala M'bala has associated with French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and with former Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and is known in France for describing Holocaust remembrance as "memorial pornography.” In addition to being convicted for hate speech, advocating terrorism, and slander in Belgium, France and Switzerland, he has been banned from performing on several instances, due to the antisemitic content of his shows. MEMRI and the MEMRI-DTTM have been following M'bala M'bala's antisemitic speeches, videos and activities since 2010. The last part of this report provides a series of links to some of these MEMRI and DTTM reports.

On January 10, 2023, 56-year-old antisemitic comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala asked for forgiveness from the Jewish community in a letter published by André Darmon on the website of Darmon’s French Israeli magazine Israel Magazine. In videos published on the comedian's own website, he explained why he decided to seek forgiveness . The letter triggered intense discussion within the French Jewish community, with some members perceiving the apology as sincere, and others arguing that it must be followed by action to correct the harms caused by promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. While a large percentage of French Jews considered M'bala M'bala's request for forgiveness as yet another of the comedian's bad jokes, many of his fans on Telegram expressed their disappointment and disgust at his “giving in to the Jews.” Following are excerpts from M'bala M'bala's letter and videos.

French Singer And Songwriter Francis Lalanne Encouraged Dieudonné To Write A Letter

In a video shared on his “La Dieudosphere” YouTube channel on January 15, 2023, M'bala M'bala explains what led him to ask for forgiveness. He refers to French singer and songwriter Francis Lalanne, who suggested writing a letter to help rehabilitate Dieudonné's career. The comedian recalls:

“[0:26] I had been reaching out [for forgiveness] for several years, in vain. This hand of peace and forgiveness - I opened it to those whom I had shocked during my artistic mimics: I reached out in particular to members of the French Jewish community who felt insulted by my remarks and who made it very clear. I needed to be able to come to them with a sincere request for forgiveness – because of my excessive and outrageous behavior. Alas, time passed by and my outstretched hands never found the fraternal embrace they were looking for (…).”

M'bala M'bala then mentions the help of Francis Lalanne: “[4:01:] One day Francis called me and asked me for forgiveness [for slandering me on TV] (…) He wanted to work on my rehabilitation: [Lalanne said:] ‘Why should the French be deprived of you? You are one of the most hilarious comedians. We need to rehabilitate you.’ He asked me: ‘Would you mind asking for forgiveness?’ I said that I had taken this step on many occasions, but that I had never succeeded in having my request [for forgiveness] heard. He therefore asked me to write a text - a text that went all around France - a request for forgiveness. I did it. He passed it on to his friend Frank Kalifat, whom I did not know, who passed it in turn to [the director of Israel Magazine] André Darmon. I met him 20 years ago. After much hesitation, André Darmon agreed to publish this letter on his website Israel Magazine. It created a kind of madness. It created a kind of media explosion that no one could have ever imagined. (…)”[1]

Dieudonné’s Letter Of Apology Was Published In A French Israeli Magazine

André Darmon wrote as an introduction to the letter: “(…) After considering, I agreed that the comedian should write what he has to say to those he mistreated so badly, the Jews, and from whom he wanted to ask forgiveness. I leave it to you readers to make your own judgement. (…)” The letter reads:

“I ask for forgiveness.

It has been several decades since I expressed myself in an official media, and I didn't think I would do it again one day, but that's how it is, time passed by and it didn’t spare any of my certainties. I have been a comedian for 35 years.

Much more than a job, this task was for me a real passion, a priesthood for which I devoted most of my life and my energy, often to the detriment of my closest entourage, and in particular of my seven children, whom I hardly saw growing up.

I take the opportunity given to me here to ask for their forgiveness and to tell them again how much I love them. I also want to ask forgiveness from all those I may have hurt, shocked, harmed through some of my artistic mimics. I am thinking in particular of my compatriots in the Jewish community, to whom I humbly admit I went too far. It's true, I sometimes went too far and acted outrageously, indulging in inappropriate provocations.

For all these faults and excesses, I ask for forgiveness. My aim was to make everyone laugh, and the Jewish community is part of my world.

I failed to make them laugh, and I regret it. In short, my age and health condition push me today to prepare for my retirement in Cameroon, on the land of my ancestors. Also, I aspire to leave the stage in peace: in peace with myself, in peace with others, in mutual and sincere respect. I want to add my stone to the building of reconciliation, in a context of exacerbated general tensions.

More than ever, I am convinced that laughter and deriding will have a role to play in restoring the bond of brotherhood that has been broken. I am an imperfect but sincere human being who seeks to repair his errors and faults.

My heartfelt thanks for accepting to publish and to read this letter. Let’s make this clear: I am not looking for any kind of excuses because there are none when one can see he has harmed his fellowmen. I simply ask for forgiveness for the harm I have done, not always on purpose."[2]

Fans Felt Betrayed; Conspiracy Theorist And Antisemite Alain Soral Questioned Dieudonné’s Sincerity

Many fans felt “betrayed” by the comedian's letter. In a video, conspiracy theorist and antisemite Alain Soral mocked it as a stunt, calling the letter an act of “Tshuvah” (“repentance” in Hebrew) and explaining that M'bala M'bala was presumably motivated by economic reasons, as he is said to be completely  bankrupt.[3]

In a 23-minute video posted on his website “Quenelplus,” the comedian replied to Soral, saying[4]: “[7:03] By venturing on the path of forgiveness, I did not expect support from you, Alain, no. But at least a respectful silence, in view of all the ordeals we have gone through together. How disappointed I am. (…) [13:04] When you thought I was weak because I was seeking forgiveness, you said to yourself: I'm going to take advantage of this. You should know that I have never felt so strong, so light. (…) [15:07] We men have to ask for forgiveness. We are sinners. We have this ability to ask for forgiveness when we have hurt people. And for the pain we have caused. You too, Alain. We cause pain every day. I made bad taste jokes. I admit him. I would also like to apologize to Ilan Halimi's mother, because I made a show at the time of a drama - a terrible, unbearable drama, which had affected her family.[5] I was actually responding to attacks from people who were trying to make me part of this story, and I was going too far. It is true that these attacks were unfair, but I did not need to pain [others], and so I beg you for forgiveness, Mrs. Halimi. (…)”

A list of MEMRI and MEMRI-DTTM reports about Dieudonné

A French Holocaust Denier and Repeat Offender on Tour To Include France, French Overseas Territories, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Great Britain And Canada,, November 23, 2023.

Antisemitic Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, Who Was Fined, Banned From Performing And Sentenced To Prison For Hate Speech — And Is On Twitter — Performed On A Tour Bus Across France, Proceeded To Belgium And Luxembourg,, May 31, 2022.

French Holocaust Denier Publishes About The War In Ukraine,, March 15, 2022.

Antisemitic Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, Who Was Fined, Banned From Performing And Sentenced To Prison For Hate Speech — And Is On Twitter — Performed On A Tour Bus Across France, Proceeded To Belgium And Luxembourg,, May 31, 2022.

Following MEMRI's Exposure Of Leading French Antisemites Alain Sorel And Dieudonné, YouTube Removes Their Channels,, July 24, 2020.

French Antisemitic Comedian Dieudonné Hijacks 'Yellow Vests' Protests To Promote His Views,, December 17, 2018.

The 'Quenelle+' Facebook Page - Popular Among Followers Of Antisemitic French Comedian Dieudonné,, May 4, 2016.

French Comedian Dieudonné Promotes New Humor-Based Antisemitic Subculture,, January 16, 2014.

Canadian Promoter Cancels Montreal Show by Antisemitic French Comedian Dieudonné,, May 18, 2012.

Iranian 'Conference on Hollywoodism and Cinema' Honors Prominent French Holocaust Deniers,, February 23, 2012.

Iranian-French Co-production by French Comedian Dieudonné Presents Spoof on Auschwitz Gas Chambers,, February 16, 2012.

From the MEMRI Archives: French Comedian Dieudonné Praises Antisemitic 'Quenelle' Salute, Calls For Coup d'Etat In France,, February 13, 2011.

Antisemitic French Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala To Release Iran-Produced Film, 'The Anti-Semite',,  November 23, 2011.

French Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala Promotes His New Song 'Shoahnanas' ('Holocaust Pineapples'), Claims: Greater Freedom of Speech in Iran Than in France; Most Slave Traders Were Jews,, April 21, 2010.

French Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala tells Iranian TV about His New Children's Song "Holocaust Pineapple" and States: Most Slave Traders Were Jews; More Freedom of Speech in Iran Than in France,, April 6, 2010.


[1], January 15, 2023.

[2], January 10, 2023

[3] Alain Soral’s reaction:, Telegram, January 25, 2025

[4] Dieudonné replies to Alain Soral:, January 29, 2025

[5] Ilan Halimi was a French Jew who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in France in 2006 by a group calling themselves the Gang of Barbarians.

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