MONTPELLIER, March 13 — French singer Bertrand Cantat, who beat his girlfriend to death, yesterday announced he would not be performing at any summer festivals after an uproar amongst women’s rights activists.
More than 70,000 people had signed an online petition urging Normandy’s Papillons de Nuit festival to pull Cantat 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 decided already moved to cancel performances by the 54-year-old singer, once the idolised frontman of rock band Noir Desir.
Cantat told AFP that 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”.
The rock star killed his girlfriend Marie Trintignant, a well-known actress, in a hotel room while on tour in Lithuania in 2003.
The killing sent shockwaves through France, where Cantat was known as a champion of social causes.
He was sentenced to eight years in prison of which he served four years before being released on parole in 2007.
Cantat 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 who everyone knows has killed?” her mother Nadine said in a TV interview due to air yesterday evening.
“How dare he? I find it shameful, indecent, disgusting, that he would go onstage.”
Cantat kicked off a tour to promote his first solo album Amor Fati on March 1 and was due to perform yesterday evening in Montpellier before shows in Paris on May 29 and 30. — AFP