Henri Roussel, a cofounder of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was viciously attacked last week in Paris, is speaking out and blaming the murdered editor for “dragging the team to their death.”
Roussel — who goes by the pen name, Delfeil de Ton — made the incendiary comments to the leftist French magazine Nouvel Obs on the one-week anniversary of the massacre that left 11 staffers and one police officer dead.
The Charlie Hebdo co-founder was referring to editor-in-chief Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, who was one of those killed during the terrorist attack. The 80-year-old said that in his opinion, the highly offensive cartoons published by the magazine led to the tragedy.
Even though Roussel called Charb “an amazing lad,” he lashed at him, saying, “I really hold it against you.”
The distraught man also referred to the late staffer as a stubborn “block head,” and questioned his decision to print a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed in 2011, along with the caption “100 lashes of the whip if you don’t die laughing” in addition to the headline “Sharia Hebdo.”
Roussel added that Charbonnier forced the staffers into “overdoing it.” Following that particular cover, the Charlie Hebdo offices were firebombed. Despite the threats, Charbonnier and his team continued to print images of the Prophet Mohammed in situations which many Muslims considered to be offensive.
The comments didn’t sit well with the Charlie Hebdo’s longtime lawyer, Richard Malka, who slammed the article in a message to Mathieu Pigasse, one of the owners of Nouvel Obs, according to a report in Mashable. The magazine defended the publication of the comments citing freedom of speech, which has been at the forefront following the Charlie Hebdo shooting.
“Charb has not yet even been buried and Obs finds nothing better to do that to publish a polemical and venomous piece on him.”
“The other day, the editor of Nouvel Obs, Matthieu Croissandeau, couldn’t shed enough tears to say he would continue the fight. I didn’t know he meant it this way. I refuse to allow myself to be invaded by bad thoughts, but my disappointment is immense.”
Despite the tragic death toll of not only the Charlie Hebdo shooting, but a stand off at a Kosher store in Paris, the satirical magazine printed three million copies of what they call the “Survivor’s Issue” on Wednesday. Continuing with their defiant posture, the cover depicts the Prophet Mohammad, a tear in one eye, while he holds a sign that reads “Je Suis Charlie.” Additionally the title says, “All is forgiven.”
Millions have turned up in rallies to support freedom of speech in France after the Charlie Hebdo attack. The latest edition was sold out, but there is disagreement as to how much is too much.
Pope Francis said there are limits to freedom of expression, “One cannot react violently, but if my friend says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” however, the Pope condemned killing in the name of religion.
[Image via NBC/Twitter]