The Case Against Brigitte Bardot: Former Face of French Cinema and Current Face of Bigotry
By: Beverly Abellanosa
Idolized by many, Brigitte Bardot is widely regarded as a paramount popular culture icon who continues to remain relevant with each generation. Bardot first catapulted into stardom with the 1956 film And God Created Woman directed by Roger Vadim. The film cemented her status as a sex symbol rivaling the likes of Marilyn Monroe.
Following Bardot’s film career, she gained notoriety for her views on Islam, the LGBT+ community, and the #MeToo movement and has been fined by the French government five times for inciting racial hatred. As the years have passed and society has grown to hold celebrities accountable for their actions it is baffling that someone as blatantly bigoted as Bardot continues to be hailed as an icon.
In her 1999 book, Le Carre de Pluton (Pluto’s Square), she dedicated a section of the book to an “Open Letter to My Lost France” in which she grieves her homeland for being “invaded by an overpopulation of foreigners, especially Muslims.”
In 2003 Bardot published her second book, Un Cri Dans Le Silence (A Scream in the Silence) in which she warned of an Islamic takeover of France, “Over the last twenty years, we have given in to a subterranean, dangerous, and uncontrolled infiltration, which not only resists adjusting to our laws and customs but which will, as the years pass, attempt to impose its own.”
The book also went on to display her abhorrence towards racial mixing with a section dedicated to the topic in which she praised previous generations who “have given their lives to push out invaders.” Bardot was fined 30,000 francs (approx. 4,600 euros) in June 2000 for her remarks in Le Carre de Pluton as well as in 1997 and 1998 for similar remarks.
In 2004, Bardot was convicted for a fourth time by the French government for inciting racial hatred and was fined 5,000 euros. In 2008, she was once again convicted of inciting racial/religious hatred after she sent a copy of a letter conveying her disdain for Muslims to former Interior Minister of France Nicolas Sarkozy. The letter stated that she was “fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country, and imposing its habits.” She was fined 15,000 euros, making this her largest fine to date.
Un Cri Dans Le Silence not only railed against Muslims but the LGBT+ community as well. In her book, she compares her gay companions to the modern LGBT+ community who “jiggle their bottoms, put their little fingers in the air and with their little castrato voices moan about what those ghastly heteros put them through.”
Bardot even went as far as to say that some “contemporary homosexuals behave like fairground freaks.” After widespread public outcry to her views against the community, Bardot attempted to defend herself by stating that she is “entirely surrounded by homos. For years, they have been my support, my friends, my adopted children, my confidants.” However this attempt of defense is reminiscent of the phrase “I’m not racist, I have black friends.”
Bardot remained relatively dormant until 2018 in which she dismissed the #MeToo movement by stating that many of the actresses’ claims are “hypocritical, ridiculous, and without interest.” She went on to say that “lots of actresses will try to play the tease with producers to get a role. And then, so we will talk about them, they say they were harassed . . . I was never the victim of sexual harassment. And I found it charming when men told me that I was beautiful or I had a nice little backside.”
We, as a society, should be holding people in influential positions accountable for their actions rather than continuing to idolize them and dismiss their problematic history because of their “aesthetic.”