“We consider that our only criteria should be artistic.”
A festival in northern France has refused to ban an artist despite him serving jail time for killing his girlfriend.
Bertrand Cantat – former frontman of Noir Desir – killed his girlfriend, actress Marie Trintignant in a hotel room in in Lithuania in 2003, while the band were on tour. She suffered severe brain damage after he beat her during a fight.
He was sentenced to eight years in prison – of which he served four – before being released on parole in 2007.
Papillons de Nuit festival have refused to take the musician off the bill, despite pressure from fans to remove him. An online petition demanding that he be banned from the festival has gained over 65,000 signatures.
“By inviting Bertrand Cantat, you condone domestic violence and violence against women,” the petition reads (translated from French).
“Children, teenagers, men and women will participate in your festival: more than 70,000 people will be present. Young people who will grow up with the idea that, men who will leave your festival with the idea that, women who will listen to music with the idea that: That a man can kill women and quietly play music for thousands of spectators.
“That a man can kill women, spend a few months in prison and then be applauded, cheered and admired.
“Violence against women can not be eradicated from our society as long as festivals like yours but also film festivals, TV shows, or any other major events reward and invite murderers, rapists or criminals to be acclaimed and presented to the public as idols.”
In a statement, the festival confirmed that Cantat will still play, saying: “We consider that our only criteria should be artistic.”
Cantat began touring with new band Detroit in 2013, and is currently embarking on a solo venture with his debut solo album, ‘Amor Fati’.
Papillons de Nuit festival will take place between 18-20 May in Saint-Laurent-de-Cuves, Normandy.