Calls to strip French rapper of awards for ‘sexist’ lyrics

frenchPARIS: A French rapper is facing calls to be stripped of the country’s top musical awards for the sexist and “degrading” lyrics of his old songs.

Orelsan won three Victories of Music prizes on Friday, confirming him as France’s most popular rapper.

But a petition is demanding that French Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen strip him of the awards because of his 2006 song, “Saint Valentine”, which saw him convicted of inciting violence against women.

Orelsan, 35, was acquitted on appeal of the charge in 2016 despite the hit containing the line “Shut your mouth or I will make a Marie Trintignant of you,” a reference to a French actress who was killed by her pop star boyfriend, Bertrand Cantat of Noir Désir, in 2003.

A number of feminist groups have brought charges against Orselan for the lyrics of several of his early songs even though the singer claims to be a feminist himself.

He has been cleared on appeal in all of the cases, with judges saying it was clear that the singer did not endorse the feelings of the “hopeless” characters in his songs.

But a new petition against the singer had gathered more than 25,000 signatures by Wednesday.

“We call on all those who defend women’s rights to protest against the prizes received by this individual, whose work should be censored,” the petition on Change.org added.

“What kind of example does that set for young people,” the petition said. “How in a period like this (with the #MeToo movement) could this be possible?”

Orelsan, 35, whose real name is Aurélien Cotentin, hails from the town of Caen in Normandy. He had managed to shake off much of his early sexist image in recent years with biting and often humorous songs chronicling some rarely seen sides of French country towns.