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Animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot stirs fury in Reunion with ‘racist’ comments

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The highest ranking official on the French island of Reunion filed a legal suit against former film star and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot on Wednesday after receiving a letter deemed “racist” by the authorities.

In the letter, sent on Tuesday to the prefect of Reunion and local media, Bardot described inhabitants of the Indian Ocean island as “aboriginals who have kept the genes of savages” and denounced what she called the barbaric treatment of animals by a “degenerate population”.

“This letter contains terms that are offensive and racist toward the inhabitants of Reunion”, prefect Amaury de Saint-Quentin said in a statement.

Bardot’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, dedicated to animal protection, said Bardot had written the letter as a personal initiative, separate from the institution.

Bardot, now 84, rose to sex symbol status as an actress in the 1950s. She starred in numerous films and was also famous as a singer and fashion model but in recent decades has become better known as an outspoken campaigner for animal welfare.

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Reunion is an overseas French department in the southern Indian Ocean, to the east of Madagascar, and is known for its volcanoes, coral reefs and rainforest.

Bardot’s comments triggered widespread outrage on the island, with several officials saying they would also take legal action. Two anti-racism NGOs, Licra and SOS Racisme, said they too intended to go to court.

“Ordinary racism has no place in the exchange of opinions”, France’s Minister of Overseas Territories Annick Girardin said on Tuesday, adding that she would add her name to the complaint filed by the island’s prefect.

In Paris, the president of the lower house of parliament, Richard Ferrand, expressed his “contempt” for Bardot’s comments.

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Animal rights activists say abuse of animals is common on the island and that animal sacrifice is tolerated in some religious ceremonies.

Reporting by Bernard Grollier; Additional reporting by Julie Carriat and Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Richard Lough and Gareth Jones

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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