The organisers of French music festival Papillons de Nuit are refusing to cancel a solo performance by a singer who beat his girlfriend to death.
Bertrand Cantat, former frontman of the now defunct band Noir Desir, served four years of an eight-year sentence in prison after killing his girlfriend, the 41-year-old actress Marie Trintignant.
Trintignant, who was nominated five times for the César Award – France’s most prestigious acting honour – died following severe brain damage after Cantat beat her in a hotel room while on tour in Lithiania in 2003.
Upon his release from prison Cantat continued to pursue his music career and returned to the stage in 2013 with a new group, Detroit – to the dismay of Trintignant’s family.
More than 66,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Cantat is removed from the festival billing. It takes place in May in the Normandy town of Saint-Laurent-de-Cuves.
“By putting Bertrand Cantat in the spotlight you are normalising violence against women and even condoning it,” the petition on the Change.org website reads.
The organisers of the rock festival, which drew 68,000 people last year, have defended their decision to keep Cantat as a performer, saying in a statement: “We consider that our only criteria should be artistic.”
In a profile on the website for Papillons de Nuit, Cantat, 53, is described as “having lost nothing of his brooding nature, rage and critical thinking”.
Cantat is planning to perform live at several other shows in the coming months. Only one of which has been cancelled due to objections from music fans and anti-domestic violence campaigners.
Last year the French rock magazine Les Inrockuptibles apologised after putting Cantat on its cover.
Elle magazine in France responded by publishing an alternative cover featuring Trintignant, with the editorial reading: “Marie Trintignant died under the blows of Bertrand Cantat. Today she is a symbol … her face has become that of all the female victims of the violence of men. The face of the 123 women killed by their spouse last year.”
— ELLE (@ELLEfrance) October 17, 2017