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Bob Dylan charged with incitement to hatred in France

8:13 AM, Dec 3, 2013   |    comments
Bob Dylan performs during the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards on Jan. 12, 2012. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
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(USA TODAY) -- Bob Dylan is in legal trouble in France because of a year-old interview he gave to Rolling Stone in which he compared Croatians to Nazis.

Dylan, 72, has been charged with incitement to hatred for statements that appeared in the magazine's Sept. 27, 2012 issue, according to AFP. The news service says the singer was charged while he was in Paris to accept France's Legion d'Honneur for his distinguished music career.

WATCH | Dylan receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

"Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery - that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that," Dylan was quoted as saying in the Rolling Stone interview. "If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."

In the 1990s, Croatians and Serbs were involved in bloody ethnic warfare in the Balkans that killed thousands, including many civilians.

During World War II, the Independent State of Croatia was a Nazi puppet regime responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews, Serbs and other ethnic groups.

The legal complaint against Dylan was filed by a Croatian group based in France, according to The Guardian.

French law bars speech that might invite "discrimination, hatred or violence with regard to a person or group of people on the grounds of their origin or of their membership or non-membership of an ethnic group, a nation, a race, or a religion," according to AFP.

Fashion designer John Galliano was found guilty of a related crime in France in 2011 for an anti-Semitic rant that was captured on video. He was fined about $8,400.

(USA TODAY)

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