French festival refuses to dump musician who killed girlfriend

French festival refuses to dump musician who killed girlfriend

The organisers of a music festival in France have refused to cancel a performance by a musician who was jailed for killing his girlfriend.

Bertrand Cantat, former frontman of a rock band Noir Desir, is scheduled to perform at the Papillons de Nuit festival in May.

But over 65,000 people have signed a petition calling for Cantat to be removed from the line-up.

"It is unimaginable to present a murderer under the romantic image of the poet," the petition reads.

"Violence against women cannot be eradicated from our society as long as festivals like yours — but also film festivals, TV shows, or any other major events — will reward and invite murderers, rapists and criminals to be presented to the public as idols."

In 2003, Cantat was touring in Lithuania with his actress girlfriend Marie Trintignant, when he killed her in a hotel room.

She died from a severe brain damage after Cantat beat her during a fight.

Cantat — who at the time was known for his passion for social justice — was sentenced to eight years in prison. He served four, and was released on parole in 2007.

Since the ordeal, Cantat has returned to the stage.

The organisers of the Papillons de Nuit festival have defended the decision to welcome him to the stage, saying Cantat has "lost nothing of his brooding nature, rage and critical thinking".

"We consider that our only criteria should be artistic," the organisers' statement reads.

"We intend to promote democratic values that bring us together, and recognise that every citizen has the right to a professional life after justice is done."

Cantat is about to begin promoting his first solo album, Amor Fati.

His first concert will be held in the city of La Rochelle.

The venue said in a statement it had received "three or four disapproving emails".