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March 22, 2023

FM voices outrage over new French show mocking Romanians

Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Baconschi disapproves the use of negative comments about Romanian citizens, made in a French radio show, the latest in a series of such broadcasts, both on TV and radio.

“This constant identification of Romanian citizens with beggary has become outrageous and it’s high time to condemn these language derailments before they become hostility to the Romanian community in France. As you were able to notice, we have a prompt reaction every time the media resorts to an unjustified generalisation and the promotion of such stereotypes. However, I am sorry to see the French media insists in such negative innuendoes,” Baconschi said, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry.

His comments came as in a radio show in France, famous Moroccan-born French comedian Jamel Debbouze suggested that the national football team hire a Romanian captain who would beg for the ball. “We should have a Romanian captain in the French team. Can you imagine what a Romanian captain would do? ‘Please give me the ball (…), it’s for the children,” Debbouze said during the show. He also said joked that he is a good friend of President Nicolas Sarkozy and that the Roma expulsion was his idea. “Yes, (…) because they annoy me. There are many Romanians in France,” he said. In recent months, several other TV and radio shows in France, but also in Italy, described Romanians as beggars or labelled them “fleabags and scum.”

Baconschi said the latest attack was even more surprising given that it came from “a representative of the French and international artistic world known for his multicultural convictions and his support for minorities of any kind.”

The Foreign Ministry also said legal boundaries in what regards slander and incitement to xenophobia should be respected, regardless of a broadcast’s format and nature.

“We believe such actions only support and develop a hostile attitude towards Romanians, by propagating among the general public a series of negative stereotypes that affect an entire nation,” the ministry added in the release, calling on French media representatives to visit Romania in order to become acquainted with the country’s realities.

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