He became known in 1993 as an artistic partner with the humorist Elie Semoun. Both formed the comedy duo Élie et Dieudonné until 1997.
In parallel, Dieudonné (Dieudonne M’bala M’bala) It has been characterized by an active political militancy. Although initially aligned with leftist and anti-racist thoughts.
At the beginning of the 2000s, his positions tilted towards points of view considered anti-Semitic, giving rise to notable controversies that have intensified over the years. Politically, the humorist has been getting closer to the postulates of the National Front in particular. , and of the extreme right in general, embracing denialist positions. This situation has led to numerous judicial problems and the French Government’s ban on some of his shows such as le mur in early 2014.
He was born in 1966 in Fontenay-aux-Roses (Hauts-de-Seine), the son of a Cameroonian father and a French mother. He became famous in the 1990s with the duo he formed with the Jewish comedian Elie Semoun. They separated in 1997 and Dieudonné from then on collaborated with other comedians and participated in films such as Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra of 2002. In those years he participated in anti-racist campaigns and came to present himself in 1997 as a candidate for deputy in Dreux having as a rival a member of the National Front.
The first time he was accused of being an anti-Semite was in 2003 when he appeared on a France 3 television program, disguised as an Orthodox Jew, his face covered with a balaclava and military uniform, and called on the youth of the periphery to “join the axis of good, the American-Zionist axis”, which concluded with a Nazi salute shouting “IsraelHeil!” The show’s host had to apologize to the audience and his former comedic partner Elie Semoun wrote an open letter on who told him: “You are no longer the one I knew.” Four years later Semoun wrote: “It’s over. Dieudonné is in another place, in the world of hate. It is as if he had lived with a psychopath or a pedophile without realizing it”. When Semoun made reference in a television program to the fact that the distribution of profits with his former partner had harmed him, Dieudonné replied: “What is wrong with you? Are your origins emerging to the surface?
In those years of the early 21st century, he spread in France the North American anti-Semitic thesis that the Jews had played a fundamental role in the slave trade and in their exploitation on the plantations of the southern United States, an idea that had been adopted and disseminated by Nation of Islam, (The nation of islam is a religious and socio-political organization founded in 1930 in the United States by Wallace Fard Muhammad), in order to resuscitate the spiritual, mental, social and economic consciousness of the Afro-American population and the rest of the world within the precepts of Islam , but that had been refuted as fanciful by prominent figures in the American black world such as the academic Henry Louis Gates. Michel Wieviorka (French sociologist) has commented that Dieudonné’s shows “attract the sympathy of a population that no longer has anything to do with classical anti-Semitism (nationalist, Christian, far-right), at the risk of combining with it: people of sub-Saharan or North African, and sometimes Antillean, origin, they can identify with hatred of those Jews suspected of having participated in their historical misfortune and of not wanting to talk about that past today, which is a fallacious construction”.
In 2008, he invited the denialist Robert Faurisson to participate in his show and the following year he co-founded and led the Anti-Zionist List, which ran for that year’s elections. In the propaganda posters he appeared together with Alain Soral making the gesture of the quenelle (left arm extended downwards and right hand near left shoulder). The gesture of the quenelle It became a global media phenomenon when in 2013 it was used by basketball player Tony Parker and soccer player Nicolas Anelka.
Dieudonné’s supporters consider that, with a crude and reckless humor, he dedicates himself to criticizing the main dogmas emanating from the institutional, fundamentalist religious, cultural and artistic order, and that he has broken some typical taboos of French society. Francois Laurent-Balsa, in an art magazine article elements, characterizes Dieudonné with the following words: “It is the Ebola virus of humor. It insinuates itself everywhere despite the cordon sanitaire erected around it”. And he continues: “Whether these are millionaires or proletarians, overpriced or failed, contemporary artists are no more than cultural animators, GOs of advanced capitalism, who manage with others (the pop song, the foot businessthe people) the free (dead?) times of posthistorical societies. Professionally speaking, they are environment agents. They heat the atmosphere. Dieudo electrifies her”.
The Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls in August 2013 publicly condemned Dieudonné and his links with Alain Soral (essayist, editor, French boxing instructor related to extreme ideas of both left and right, coming to be described as “national-Bolshevik”.
Chrystel Camus, producer of his 2013 tour foxtrothas declared to the Spanish newspaper The country who decided not to participate in his new 2014 show, le mur“because his environment warned me that he included many, many anti-Semitic themes, such as moments in which he talks about burning Jews like sticks.”
At the beginning of December 2013, Dieudonné’s website was blocked by a hacker and a few days later a group of young people attacked a person who had appeared on the web making the gesture of the quenelle. At the beginning of 2014 his theater in Paris main d’or he had to be evicted because of a bomb threat.
Dieudonné participated in the denunciation of the case of Saïd Bourarach, a Moroccan warehouse watchman who drowned in a canal when four individuals, alleged sympathizers of the Jewish Defense League, followed him, although the court found no evidence that it was a “racist” or “religious” crime, nor that it was a “murder”. The four persecutors were accused by the investigating judge of “violences volontaires ayant entraîné la mort sans intention de la donner avec usage ou menace d’une arme” (‘voluntary violence that has led to involuntary death with the use or threat of a weapon’ ).
A few days after the attack on Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, he was arrested by the police on charges of apology for terrorism for having published a message on Facebook on January 11 that read – paraphrasing the slogan in favor of the magazine Je suis Charlie Hebdo-, “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly”, the surname of the terrorist who on Thursday the 8th had murdered an unarmed municipal agent and, on Friday the 9th, four Jews in the Hyper Cacher kosher food supermarket, in eastern Paris.
In November 2018, the Spanish daily The vanguard reported that Dieudonné was going to perform a show in Barcelona to criticize Manuel Valls, candidate for mayor of that city and that when he was French prime minister he took various initiatives to have his shows banned as racist and anti-Semitic.