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Bob Dylan Hate Crime Charges Dismissed by French Magistrate

Bob Dylan
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

The next time Bob Dylan visits Paris, he can rest easy knowing he’ll be able to enjoy a croissant without being slapped in handcuffs.

Consequence of Sound reports that following a five-month inquiry, French magistrate Marion Potier has dismissed the hate crime charges filed against Dylan as part of a lawsuit alleging that comments he made regarding race relations during an interview with Rolling Stone were “an incitement to hatred.”

Musing that the “country is just too f—ed up about color,” Dylan added, in part, “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…If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that,” he added. “That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”

An organization called the Council of Croats took offense and filed suit, but Potier denied the claims on the grounds that Dylan never gave permission for his comments to be published. Not the most comforting technicality to get off on, but at least Dylan’s woes are over, unlike the magazine’s publisher, Michel Birnbaum, who still faces a trial for violating the same anti-hate speech laws Dylan was accused of breaking — as well as the potential of a year in prison and a fine equivalent to $62,000.

However it happened, Dylan’s moving on. As his attorney told reporters, “I am very happy to see that French justice understood that Bob Dylan never wanted to insult anyone.”

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