French comic with disputed gesture is defiant

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PARIS (AP) - A French comic whose gesture touched off allegations of anti-Semitism and prompted a government ban on his shows is defiant, saying the “quenelle” has nothing to do with the Nazi salute.

“Of course it’s not an anti-Semitic gesture. I’m going to repeat it 20 times. It’s a gesture of emancipation, of panache,” Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala told The Associated Press on Friday.

Soccer player Nicolas Anelka faces an English Football Association disciplinary hearing after formally denying a racism charge for celebrating a goal with the gesture. Dieudonne was banned on Monday from entering the United Kingdom in a trip he had planned as a show of support for Anelka.

“It’s a rather modern gesture” that Dieudonne said he invented. “Everyone is appropriating this gesture their own way.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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