French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, inventor of the “quenelle” gesture that Nicholas Anelka performed after scoring against West Ham United in December, has been banned from entering the United Kingdom.
Dieudonne was reportedly planning to visit the West Bromwich Albion striker, who faces a FA ban for performing the gesture that many consider to be anti-Semitic.
Anelka denied charges made by the FA and if found guilty, faces a minimum five-match ban. The 34-year-old French international claims he performed the gesture as a show of support for Dieudonne and says the salute is “anti-establishment” and neither anti-Semitic nor racist.
Dieudonne has been convicted six times of hate speech against Jews. Dieudonne had several shows in France banned last month amid fears his portrayal of Jews and mocking of the Holocaust were a risk to public order. Interior Minister Manuel Valls wants Dieudonne kept off all stages in France, describing the comic’s “mechanics of hate” while fans and civil liberties campaigners accused the French government of censorship and attacking free speech.
As Anelka awaits the FA’s hearing, West Brom has (and will) keep the striker available for selection.