Four shows by controversial French comic Dieudonné M'bala M'bala booked for Montreal next week have been cancelled after Jewish groups expressed concern over his reputation for performing anti-Semitic material.
Earlier this week, one of his shows in Belgium was interrupted by national police and eventually scrapped. Last year, the French town of Angers blocked his performance at a local auditorium, and he has been convicted of racial defamation in France.
Belgian authorities are investigating whether to lay charges for inciting racial hatred and xenophobia stemming from a performance in March.
In Montreal, Dieudonné was scheduled for four performances at the Corona Theatre starting May 14 in a booking by the city's biggest entertainment promoter, Evenko.
Luciano Del Negro from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs wrote to Evenko protesting Dieudonné‘s Montreal appearances.
"He is no longer funny, particularly given his anti-Semitic vitriol and his racist outbursts,” Del Negro told CBC News.
Event planners won't handle him
On Friday, the Corona Theatre sent out a release saying it had cancelled the shows "due to contractual conflicts."
Ticket holders can obtain refunds, the release said.
Del Negro says Evenko promised to be more sensitve in the future about whom it books.
“The company has put into place a protocol to ensure greater scrutiny of the people requesting the use of their venues,” Del Negro said.
When Dieudonné was in Montreal in 2004 during Just For Laughs, Jewish groups protested his show.
Dieudonné’s current show, titled Rendez-nous Jésus (Give us back Jesus), has been criticized in France because it features Holocaust denial, slurs against the Talmud and praise for Hitler. In France, he has to book his shows into smaller venues because established event planners won’t handle him.
The comic is also promoting his feature film, which was released earlier this year. L’Antisémite was produced with French and Iranian money.