Sanctioned following controversial remarks about the Israeli Prime Minister, comedian Guillaume Meurice made his return to France Inter early Sunday evening in the show “Le Grand Dimanche Soir”. This took place exceptionally without an audience, for security reasons due to the death threats weighing on him. After having suggested for Halloween a “disguise” of Benyamin Netanyahu, “a sort of Nazi but without a foreskin”, in a sketch on France Inter at the end of October, Guillaume Meurice, who refused to apologize for it, received a “warning” from the radio station that uses it.

“Are you there? », asked the host of the show, Charline Vanhoenacker. “I don’t know for how long yet. But my badge is still activated, so here I am,” he quipped. Charline Vanhoenacker defended her columnist, who received death threats. “Listen carefully to this silence. It’s the one that sets in after the threats and intimidation against comedians,” she said to comment on the absence of the public usually present during the recording.

“In the October 29 show, a joke caused controversy. If this joke shocked you or hurt you or both, if this joke made you laugh, or if you regretted having laughed, if it embarrassed you, divided you, made you think, or if you went through several states to time, well know that it is the same within our team,” she continued. “If we are here this evening, it is because we have overcome our differences, and we have confidence in Guillaume.”

“To reduce a joke to what the far right reads of it is a dangerous attempt at intent. Dangerous because some (…) draw a target on the clowns’ foreheads,” said the presenter.

“The Value of Free Speech”

In an interview with La Tribune Dimanche, the CEO of Radio France, Sibyle Veil, had earlier justified her choice to call the comedian to order, ruling out dismissal. “I did not want to send a signal that some would have hastened to exploit,” explains the boss of the public radio group. The value of freedom of expression, to which we are very attached, is much more important than a problematic sentence from a comedian, which fortunately is an exception. »

According to information from Le Figaro, not confirmed by Radio France, Guillaume Meurice benefits from the status of protected employee after having presented himself on the SUD list in the last professional elections of staff representatives.

Ms Veil also downplayed internal tensions. “In reality, it doesn’t create as much of a stir as you say (…) This week has been relatively calm,” she said. She also deplored “a spiral of controversy that crushes everything. For ten days, we’ve only been talking about that, to the detriment of the 99.99% of other things we do on our airwaves, including in-depth coverage of the conflict in the Middle East.

In a context of high tensions around the war between Israel and Hamas, Guillaume Meurice’s joke earned him numerous and severe criticisms, as well as death threats. On Monday, the host claimed to have “no fault”. “I practice humor, caricature, political satire, and excess is part of it,” he pleaded in Le Monde, he who intends to “challenge in court” the warning he received.