Bob Dylan is set to be sued by a Croatian community group after comments he made in the September issue of the French version of Rolling Stone magazine, according to Slate.Fr.
When asked by the mag for his thoughts on whether or not he sees any parallels between the Civil War period of American history and today's US society, Dylan replied:
"Mmm, I don't know how to put it. It's like . . . the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The USA wouldn't give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that's what it really was all about.
This country is just too f*cked up about colour. It's a distraction. People at each other's throats just because they are of a different colour. It's the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighbourhood back. Or any anything back. 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. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."
It's that final passage which has provoked the ire of the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF), prompting them to issue legal proceedings against the French Rolling Stone magazine.
Quoted by the International Business Times, Vlatko Mari, the secretary general of the Council of Croats in France, said: "It is an incitement to hatred. You cannot compare Croatian criminals to all Croats. But we have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer."
Maric also states that French courts have accepted the case and have asked Dylan to appear before a hearing. France has very strict laws when it comes to hate speech but it appears that the CRICCF are seeking is an apology.
The timing of this is interesting, as recently Dylan was bestowed with France's Legion of Honour, the highest award the country can give to an individual.