A founding member of Charlie Hebdo says slain editor Stéphane Charbonnier “dragged” team to their deaths by “overdoing” provocative cartoons
by Henry Samuel, The Telegraph
One of the founding members of Charlie Hebdo has accused its slain editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, or Charb, of “dragging the team” to their deaths by releasing increasingly provocative cartoons, as five million copies of the “survivors’ edition” went on sale.
Henri Roussel, 80, who contributed to the first issue of the satirical weekly in 1970, wrote to the murdered editor, saying: “I really hold it against you.”
In this week’s Left-leaning magazine Nouvel Obs, Mr Roussel, who publishes under the pen name Delfeil de Ton, wrote: “I know it’s not done”, but proceeds to criticise the former “boss” of the magazine.
Calling Charb an “amazing lad”, he said he was also a stubborn “block head”.
“What made him feel the need to drag the team into overdoing it,” he said, referring to Charb’s decision to post a Prophet Mohammed character on the magazine’s front page in 2011. Soon afterwards, the magazine’s offices were burned down by unknown arsonists.
Delfeil adds: “He shouldn’t have done it, but Charb did it again a year later, in September 2012.”
The accusation sparked a furious reaction from Richard Malka, Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer for the past 22 years, who sent an angry message to Mathieu Pigasse, one of the owners of Nouvel Obs and Le Monde.
“Charb has not yet even been buried and Obs finds nothing better to do that to publish a polemical and venomous piece on him.
“The other day, the editor of Nouvel Obs, Matthieu Croissandeau, couldn’t shed enough tears to say he would continue the fight. I didn’t know he meant it this way. I refuse to allow myself to be invaded by bad thoughts, but my disappointment is immense.”
Matthieu Croissandeau, Nouvel Obs’ editor, said: “We received this text and after a debate I decided to publish it in an edition on freedom of expression, it would have seemed to me worrisome to have censored his voice, even if it is discordant. Particularly as this is the voice of one of the pioneers of the gang.”
This is not the first time Delfeil has disagreed with the modern Charlie, accusing Charb’s predecessor of turning it into a Zionist and Islamophobic organ.
That was after Philippe Val, the previous editor, fired one of its historic figures, Maurice Sine, for publishing a cartoon on the marriage of Nicolas Sarkozy’s son, Jean, to a Jewish retailing heiress, which he considered anti-Semitic.
Delfeil said he would not say anymore on recent events. “I have refused to speak to the TV and radio, to everyone. I kept my message for Obs, and I am not prepared to open this subject again,” he said.