35-year-old Nick Conrad, a relatively unknown French-Negroid rapper, has been found guilty of incitement to murder and has been given a suspended fine over his music video titled ‘Hang White People’ that went viral on YouTube in September of last year.
Conrad was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, but describes himself as an ‘Afro-French’ citizen.
In the music video, which takes place in the eastern Paris suburb of Noisy-le-Grand, the rapper depicts himself kidnapping, torturing, and hanging white man. In one of the sections of the song, Conrad says, “I go to the nurseries, I kill the white babies, catch them quick, and hang their parents!”
The 9-minute video contains references to a speech given by Malcolm X, an infamous US black nationalist.
Prior to the release of the disturbing video, Conrad hadn’t received much attention, if any at all, from rap fans, and had just 40 monthly listeners on the music streaming platform Spotify.
On the Twitter account of Conrad, who is of Cameroonian origin, claims to have been influenced by American rappers, and presented the music video as his ‘first short film’.
On his Facebook account, he regularly calls for ‘a mutiny’ against France, which he claims is still a ‘colonizing nation’.
The 35-year-old could have been dealt a 45,000 euro fine and a prison term, but French prosecutors requested leniency from the judge, saying that Conrad had no source of income after he was fired from his job following the video going viral.
Conrad, who lost his job as a receptionist at a five-star hotel, says that he will appeal the court decision and denies any racism toward white people. He argues that the song and music video was merely an artistic expression that wasn’t meant to be taken at face value. The anti-racism groups that brought forth the case argue that the video was purely meant to incite violence.
Although the rapper ended up admitting that he understands why people would be concerned by the video, he denies being a racist.
According to the AFP news agency, in court’s verdict, it ruled that “if the permissible limits of freedom of expression are assessed with greater flexibility’ when it comes to rap, ‘the freedom of artistic creation is, however, not absolute.”
Following the court’s ruling, Conrad’s lawyer had this to say: “The court had a reading of freedom of expression that does not satisfy us.”
Benjamin Griveaux, a spokesman for the French government, condemned the “hateful, nauseating lyrics in the strongest possible terms’”
Frances Interior Minister Gerard Collomb denounced the video’s “abject remarks and ignominious attacks’”
Conrad has also been ordered to pay 1,000 euros in damages to the two anti-racism associations who originally brought the case.