French authorities have filed preliminary charges against Bob Dylan over a 2012 interview in which he is quoted comparing Croatians to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
A spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor's office, Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, said Tuesday the charges of "public insult and inciting hate" were filed in mid-November.
The charges stemmed from a lawsuit by a Croatian community group in France over an interview with Dylan in Rolling Stone magazine. A lawyer for the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF), Ivan Jurasinovic, said the group is not seeking monetary damages and only want the legendary singer to apologize to the Croatian people for the comments.
"We have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer," CRICCF representative Vlatko Maric told the Guardian. "(But) you cannot equate Croatian (war) criminals with all Croats."
During the interview in question, published in September 2012, Dylan said that racism was holding America back and referred to Croatians and Nazis to illustrate his point: "Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery — that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."
Maric did not say why they filed the case in France. France has strict laws punishing hate speech and racist remarks.
Representatives for Dylan could not immediately be reached for comment.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press