The 71-year-old singer's comments weren't taken lightly by the French-Croatian community.
Bob Dylan is allegedly facing legal action over comments he made regarding Croatians and Serbians in an interview with Rolling Stone. The CRICCF - a Croatian community organisation based in France – suggested the comments violated French racial hatred laws.
Bob Dylan offended a rather large community with his comments
He is reported to have said: "Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery - that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that.
"If you got a slave master or [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood." (BBC)
The interview, on 27 September 2012, saw the legendary singer say racism was holding America back. But despite his best intentions, Dylan offended a large sector of the Croatian community, implying that all Croats are in some way implicated in the war crimes of their ancestors.
"We have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer," a CRICCF representative explained. "[But] you cannot equate Croatian [war] criminals with all Croats." (The Guardian)
Dylan has a rich experience in that part of Eastern Europe; in 2010 he played gigs in Belgrade, Serbia and Zagreb, and back in 1991, he travelled to Belgrade to play a gig, just two weeks before Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia.
Recently, Dylan has been awarded with two of the highest honours America and France have to offer. US President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom and said: "There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music." He was also handed France's Legion of Honour.
Bob Dylan performing at the Royal Albert Hall
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