French singer who killed girlfriend cancels festival gigs

PARIS •Folks are not in a mood to forget and forgive just yet, forcing French singer Bertrand Cantat, who beat his girlfriend to death in 2003, to announce he would not be performing at any summer festivals.

More than 70,000 people had signed an online petition urging Normandy's Papillons de Nuit festival to pull him from its line-up, saying organisers were "normalising violence against women" by putting him in the spotlight.

Since then, there has been pressure on Cantat to cancel a string of upcoming shows, not least as anger over violence against women has ricocheted around the world after the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Two other festivals had already moved to cancel performances by the 54-year-old, once the idolised frontman of rock band Noir Desir.

Cantat said while he would continue with tour dates to promote his solo album, he was calling off all festival appearances "to bring an end to this controversy and end pressure on organisers".

He killed Marie Trintignant, a well-known actress, in a hotel room while on tour in Lithuania. It sent shock waves through France, where he was known as a champion of social causes. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, of which he served four years before he was released on parole in 2007.

He has dismayed Trintignant's family by returning to the stage in recent years, making his comeback in 2013 with a new group, Detroit.

"How can he do this, a man whom everyone knows has killed?" her mother Nadine said in a television interview.

"How dare he? I find it shameful, indecent, disgusting, that he would go onstage."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2018, with the headline 'French singer who killed girlfriend cancels festival gigs'. Print Edition | Subscribe