1) Phil Robertson star of Duck Dynasty who was suspended, then reprieved after expressing the view on TV that homosexual acts are sinful. I'm a bit shaky on this because I have no idea what Duck Dynasty is.
2) Dieudonné, a French comedian, whose forthcoming show has been banned in Bordeaux because of the antisemitic views he expresses and popularises.
Amongst his "gems" is the neologism Shoananas - a blend of the word Shoah, used in French for the Holocaust, and ananas, a pineapple. He is the popularizer and perhaps the inventor of the quenelle - a sort of half nazi salute, half "up yours" gesture that has recently been exhibited on football fields and in front of the synagogue in Bordeaux. Another of his quotes, this time attacking radio presenter, Patrick Cohen "You know, when the wind turns, I'm not sure he'll have time to pack." "When I hear him speak, Patrick Cohen, I say to myself, you know, the gas chambers,.. Pity..."
3) Evander Holyfield, who reportedly said on Big Brother that in his view homosexuality is "not normal" and that it can be fixed. Quoting the Guardian :
Big Brother said: "While Big Brother understands these are the views you hold, they aren't the views that are held by a large section of society, and expressing these views will be extremely offensive to many people."
Of course, whether or not Alain Juppé has the right to ban Dieudonné's show the courts will decide.
What intrigues me is the reaction of many of my friends, who say that Dieudonné should not be banned from expressing his views because he has the right to free speech, to express his views publicly. I dare not ask them if views like those of the star of Duck Dynasty and of Evander Holyfield should not be banned, if they also have the right to express their views publicly.
Big Brother's response to Holyfield is interesting. You have the right to express your views if they coincide with those held by a large section of society and will not be extremely offensive to many people.
For me this raises huge and frightening questions about the popularity of antisemitism, which is, after all, a species of racism. How much have we learnt? Perhaps very little. How much have we changed? Perhaps hardly at all. Where are we heading? I dare not think.