By Josiah HughesFollowing last year’s Tempest, Bob Dylan continued to fill up new release shelves with his Bob Dylan Complete Album Collection Vol. One earlier this fall. The year may end on a sour note, however, as the performer is being sued for alleged racism.
As Business Insider reports, a Croatian community organization in France is suing Bob Dylan, alongside the French edition of Rolling Stone, over some comments Dylan made in a RS cover story back in September of 2012.
When asked about the parallels he saw between Civil War-era America and current society, he offered the following statement:
Mmm, I don’t know how to put it. It’s like . . . the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The USA wouldn’t give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that’s what it really was all about.
This country is just too fucked up about color. It’s a distraction. People at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.
The last sentence in particular has irked an organization called the Council of Croats. “It is an incitement to hatred,” the group’s Vlatko Marić told International Business Times [via Pitchfork]. “You cannot compare Croatian criminals to all Croats. But we have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer.”
Because Europe has more strict free speech laws than North America, the suit against Dylan and Rolling Stone has been accepted on formal grounds. It will be evaluated on its own merits, which could take 18 months or even longer considering Dylan is not French. Both Dylan and Rolling Stone could face a fine and formal sanction if they’re found guilty.