19 Mar 2018

France is still divided over rock star who killed his girlfriend

Bertrand Cantat was an icon of French rock during the noughties, but his career came to a grinding halt after he was imprisoned for murdering his partner. Now, 15 years later, he is returning to the stage amidst heated debate.

Roxanne D'Arco
Roxanne D'Arco NewsMavens, France
France is still divided over rock star who killed his girlfriend - NewsMavens
Bertrand Cantat. Facebook

Why this story matters:

Bertrand Cantat's case is one of France's darkest debates. In 2003, the much-loved singer killed his girlfriend, actress Marie Trintignant, by punching her in the head. At the time, he was condemned by many, but others defended him: it was an accident, they were under the influence of drugs, he is a musical genius, and so forth.

This week, Cantat toured in several French towns, like Montpellier and Grenoble, which sparked numerous feminist demonstrations.

After the protests, Cantat has decided to cancel his concerts during summer festivals this year. The decision proved to be deeply divisive for French media.

Some think he should be able to return to the stage because he served his sentence in jail. Others claim he should withdraw from the public eye because of the heinous nature of his crime.

Ultimately, the moral responsibilty lies with the public. We can keep on protesting, or we can tolerate violence against women.

violence, gender, women's issues, scandal

Details from the story:

  • Bertrand Cantat was the leader of the famous French band Noir Désir.
  • In July 2003, in Lithuania, Bertrand Cantat hit Marie Trintignant so hard she died three days after.
  • He was convicted in 2004 to serve eight years in prison (in France).
  • From 2007 to 2011, he was on probation.
  • His ex-wife, Krisztina Rády stood by his side all along and they got back together after his release from jail. But in 2010, she committed suicide.
  • Several investigative reporters claimed that Cantat was abusive to Krisztina Rády.
  • Since 2011, Bertrand Cantat has been performing from time to time.
  • In October 2017, he was the cover of the popular French magazine Les Inrockuptibles, provoking much ire. 
  • Since then, a large part of the French population remains hostile towards Cantat. 
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