PARIS (Reuters) - Brigitte Bardot (news), the French former film goddess turned animal-rights activist, broke down in tears Thursday when she left a Paris courtroom after testifying at her latest trial on charges of inciting racial hatred.
Bardot, 69, previously convicted of similar offences, is on trial over her book "A Scream in the Silence," an outspoken attack on gays, immigrants and the jobless which shocked France.
Bardot, in her 1960s heyday the epitome of French feminine beauty, told Thursday's hearing that France was going through a period of decadence and said she opposed inter-racial marriage.
"I was born in 1934, at that time inter-racial marriage wasn't approved of," she said.
Of her prose style, Bardot said, "I'm not Balzac," a reference to the 19th century French literary great. That drew a wry, "The court had noticed," from the presiding judge.
In her book, the former film idol attacks homosexuals as "fairground freaks," condemns the presence of women in government and denounces the "scandal of unemployment benefit." She also criticized the "Islamization of France" -- which has a five million strong Muslim minority -- and the "underground and dangerous infiltration of Islam."
The book, published last year, dismayed a country whose national football team was held up as a model of the nation's ethnic integration following its 1998 World Cup victory.
The passages prompted anti-racism groups to launch legal proceedings against the former star, who turned her back on cinema after 46 films to concentrate on animal welfare.
Bardot denies the charges, saying her book did not target Islam or people from North Africa.
No stranger to controversy, she was fined $3,250 in January 1998 for inciting racial hatred in comments about civilian massacres in Algeria. Four months earlier, a court fined her for saying France was being overrun by sheep-slaughtering Muslims.
Yes her associations with the French far-right are all too sadly well known. Jakeev, I agree. I also admire her animal rights activism, but I find it hard to reconcile this good work with her racist politics.
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
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