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Bob Dylan Sued for Racism by Croatian Group

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photo: David Vincent/AP

Bob Dylan made a name for himself by writing protest songs and Civil Rights anthems. Now he's being sued by a Croatian community organization for allegedly making comments that they believe incite racial hatred. Huh?

Sure, Dylan has always been outspoken about politics, but inciting racial hatred? That just doesn't sound like the Dylan we know. According to the Guardian, Dylan has been placed under judicial investigation in France for comments he made in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

In the interview, which was published in September 2012, Dylan said he believed that racism was holding America back.

"This country is just too f----ed up about color," he said. "It's a distraction. People at each other's throats just because they are of a different color. It's the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back.

"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."

French-based Croatian organization CRICCF alleges that Dylan's comments as presented in the French version of Rolling Stone violated French racial hatred laws, and filed a lawsuit against Dylan and the magazine. The organization took issue with his statement about Serbs being able to sense Croatian blood.

"It is an incitement to hatred," said Vlatko Marić, secretary general of the organization, according to the International Business Times. "You cannot compare Croatian criminals to all Croats. But we have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer."

The Croatian/Serbian conflict has been going on for many years, and culminated with the Croatian War of Independence from 1991 to 1995, during which Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia.

Ironically, the lawsuit comes just a few weeks after Dylan was awarded France's highest award – the Legion of Honor. What's more, several Croatian radio stations reportedly took Dylan off their playlists after he made the comments.

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