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Franck Sylvestre files suit for defamation

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In “The incredible secret of Blackbeard” , the artist Franck Sylvestre appears alongside a puppet supposed to be a caricature of himself. (Archive photo)

  • Jérôme Labbé (View profile)Jérôme Labbé

The creator of the show Blackbeard's Incredible Secret, which made headlines l& #x27;last year because of his black puppet deemed offensive by certain activist organizations, filed a lawsuit for harm to his reputation and freedom of expression.

After a long reflection, Franck Sylvestre decided to prosecute Alain Babineau, one of the leaders of the Red Coalition, who, according to Mr. Sylvestre, held defamatory remarks about him at the height of the controversy, last winter.

A request for damages for damage to reputation and freedom of expression was to be presented Wednesday at the Montreal courthouse by his lawyer, Me Guillaume Rousseau, of the firm Municonseil.

His filing was was publicized by the organization Droits collectives Québec (DCQ) which, along with the Association des Québécois united contre le racialisme (AQUR), supports Mr. Sylvestre in his approach to obtain compensation.< /p>

The latter is demanding $26,600 from Mr. Babineau, a former police officer who today acts as director on issues of racial profiling and public security for the Red Coalition, and to whom he had – unsuccessfully – made send a formal notice in September to demand a public apology.

The introductory request for proceedings alleges in particular to the defendant for having made aggressive, vindictive, emotional, virulent, vexatious and defamatory remarks about Mr. Sylvestre during a press conference organized jointly with the Association of the West Island Black Community, February 24, 2023.

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Mr. Babineau would then have associated the artist with a "racist doll", with black people who support the ideas of white supremacists, with systemic racism and especially with the dehumanization of black people, by claiming that he only contributes to this dehumanization and participates in the practice of blackface.

The prosecution further deplores that the defendant wrote on the X network (Twitter, at the time) that there are unfortunately far too many "sold" who only think about their own happiness while trying not to displease their "master", by attaching to his publication a photo of M. Sylvestre and his puppet.

The controversy notably led to the cancellation of a performance scheduled for February 27 in Beaconsfield and another, at the beginning of April, at the Montreal Youth Literature Festival, underlines the introductory request for proceedings.

She also ensured that today' ;#x27;Today, the plaintiff sees his professional career threatened by being unfairly labeled as a "controversial" that broadcasters hesitate to hire for fear of reprisals, it is specified in the document of around ten pages.

Presented since 2010, the show at the heart of the controversy features a black puppet personifying a Martinican sorcerer, supposed to be a caricature of the artist, himself from the small Caribbean island . The character appears in the last minutes of the tale, specifies the prosecution.

  • Jérôme Labbé (Consult the profile)Jérôme LabbéFollow
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116