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Culture

Madonna challenges Le Pen at Paris concert but no swastika video

media Madonna performs at the Stade de France on Bastille Day Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Queen of pop Madonna gave her answer to France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen at a concert in Paris with a tribute to France’s tradition of welcoming foreign artists. But she did not give a repeat showing of the video that has led Le Pen’s Front National (FN) to sue her because a swastika flashes across the politician’s forehead.

"I know that I have made a certain Marine Le Pen very angry with me. It's not my intention to make enemies," Madonna told 2,700 fans at Paris’s Olympia concert hall on Thursday.

Last week the FN filed a case against Madonna for “publicly insulting” Le Pen when she showed the video at a concert in Paris on Bastille Day, 14 July.

The party had already threatened to take legal action after the clip’s first showing in Tel Aviv in June.

But she did deliver pointed remarks about what she sees as France’s tradition of tolerance.

Black American musicians like Josephine Baker and Charlie Parker were welcomed here while they faced discrimination in the US, she said, adding that foreign artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso “came to France to create”.

The painter Paul Gauguin also featured on the list, despite being born in Paris and leaving mainland France to live in French Polynesia.

In a scarcely veiled reference to the rise of the far right, Madonna claimed that “intolerance” is on the rise today because many people are frightened for their futures.

The spectacular show included tributes to French stars, such as singer Edith Piaf and actor Alain Delon, whom Madonna claimed had inspired her and concluded with a performance of Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime, moi non plus in French.

But there were boos at the end from fans who felt that, at one hour, the show was too short.

Madonna is to perform in Nice on 21 August.

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