In this Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 file photo, French comic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala speaks to the media during a press conference in a theater in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, file)
PARIS (AP) — A Black 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.”