French comic with disputed gesture is defiant

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Associated Press

Posted on February 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 8 at 1:04 PM

PARIS (AP) — A French comic whose gesture touched off allegations of anti-Semitism and prompted a government ban on his shows is defiant, saying the "quenelle" has nothing to do with the Nazi salute.

"Of course it's not an anti-Semitic gesture. I'm going to repeat it 20 times. It's a gesture of emancipation, of panache," Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala told The Associated Press on Friday.

Soccer player Nicolas Anelka faces an English Football Association disciplinary hearing after formally denying a racism charge for celebrating a goal with the gesture. Dieudonne was banned on Monday from entering the United Kingdom in a trip he had planned as a show of support for Anelka.

"It's a rather modern gesture" that Dieudonne said he invented. "Everyone is appropriating this gesture their own way."

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