France Faces Blackface Debate After Greek Play Blockaded

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PARIS (AP) — France is grappling with its own version of a blackface scandal, after activists blocked a theater performance at the Sorbonne university in Paris involving actors with black masks.

Four Black rights groups staged the protest Monday against a performance of “The Suppliants” by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, arguing the masks promote racist stereotypes.

The Sorbonne denounced the blockage as “a very serious, totally unjustified attack on freedom of creation,” and French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government took the university’s side.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, speaking Thursday on France-Inter radio, expressed concern about growing racism in France, but criticized far-left groups for fueling the debate and “a certain violence in the name of anti-racism.”

Activist group CRAN issued a statement Thursday urging French authorities to launch a “common reflection on blackface” to avoid future tensions.

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