French perfume designer Jean-Paul Guerlain’s use of the “n-word” during a recent interview on French state TV sparked an outcry from anti-racist groups, capped by the American civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton’s announcement of plans to travel to Paris to speak to the groups in November.
“The fact that Jean-Paul Guerlain felt comfortable enough to use the ‘n-word’ in public, coupled with the recent United Nations report showing that racism is on the rise in France, illustrates the depth of racism not only in France but throughout Europe and around the world,” Sharpton said in a statement Oct. 23.
“We will be joining with the fair-minded people across the Atlantic Ocean to further internationalize the struggle for fairness and respect. We cannot tolerate such affronts to our basic humanity,” reports Afro
French perfume designer Jean-Paul Guerlain created a firestorm after his racist statements in a TV interview on France 2.
He was talking about how the perfume Samsara grew out of a discussion he had with his wife.
“One day I told her – and I still call her Madame (0.12) – ‘What would seduce you if one was to make a perfume for you?’ and she told me, ‘I love jasmine, rose and sandalwood.’” Guerlain continued, “And for once I started working like a nigger. I don’t know if niggers really worked that hard.”
Patrick Lozès, of France's Representative Council of Black Associations, said the French word "nègre" used by Guerlain was an "extremely pejorative" and "racist" term equivalent to "nigger" in English.
But Patrick Lozes not only attacks Guerlain. On his Blog he also attacks the interviewer Lucet, who laughed after Guerlain made his racist statements.
Although Guerlain has apologised by e-mail, it’s clear he knew exactly what he was saying.
Also read: French perfume house Guerlain faces legal action over racist comments