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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Maurice Sinet (31 December 1928 – 5 May 2016), known as Siné, was a French political cartoonist. His work is noted for its anti-colonialism, anti-capitalism, anti-clericalism, and anarchism.


As a young man Siné studied drawing and graphic arts, while earning a living as a cabaret singer. His first published drawing appeared in France Dimanche in 1952. Siné received the Prix de l'Humour noir in 1955 for his collection Complainte sans Paroles. His series of drawings on cats was his breakthrough. He then started working for L'Express as a political cartoonist.

Siné's anti-colonialism caused controversy during the Algerian war. He was sued a number of times, being defended by Jacques Vergès, then a lawyer for the Algerian Liberation Front.

In 1962 Siné left L'Express and published a book of his work called Siné Massacre, noted for its anti-colonialism, anti-capitalism, anti-clericalism, and anarchism. On reviewing the book, the British satirical magazine Private Eye described Siné's cartoons as "grotesque," and criticised publisher Penguin Books for its managerial incompetence.

In May 1968, together with Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Siné launched L'Enragé, a short-lived satirical journal associated with the May 1968 events in France.

Controversy and sacking

In 1982, shortly after a terrorist attack had taken place on Jews in Paris, Siné gave an interview on the radio during which he stated: "Yes, I am anti-Semitic and I am not scared to admit it [...] I want all Jews to live in fear, unless they are pro-Palestinian. Let them die." He later apologised for his comments.

In July 2008, Siné's column in the magazine Charlie Hebdo contained this comment on Jean Sarkozy's rumoured impending conversion to Judaism so he could marry Jewish heiress Jessica Sebaoun-Darty: "He'll go a long way in life, this lad!"

This led to complaints of anti-Semitism and journalist Claude Askolovitch described the comments as anti-Semitic. The magazine's editor, Philippe Val, ordered Siné to write a letter of apology or face termination. The cartoonist said he would rather "cut his own balls off", and was promptly fired. Both sides subsequently filed lawsuits, and in December 2010, Siné won a 40,000-euro court judgment against his former publisher for wrongful termination.

Siné reported a death threat posted on a site run by the Jewish Defense League. The text said "20 centimeters of stainless steel in the gut, that should teach the bastard to stop and think."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Siné" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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