A bakery in the French Riviera has been told by a court to remove a range of cakes after the delicacies were declared racist.
The patisserie in Grasse, South-Eastern France, was told his confectionery was “obscene” and could “incite racial hatred”, the Local reports.
The confections in question, named Gods and Goddesses, are shortbread and chocolate mousse cakes in the shape of obese people covered with dark chocolate with over-sized genitals as often found in statues of Greek mythology.
And while the baker found them inoffensive, the judge deemed them to be an “attack on human dignity”.
The case was brought by a French ‘anti racism’ group, the Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN).
Speaking ahead of the court ruling, its spokesman Louis-George Tin said “It’s pure and simple racism”.
Having been made aware of the controversial chocolatey figures by a shocked customer, the group slammed the “obscene slave trade caricatures that tap into the tradition of colonial racism” and threatened to lodge a complaint for inciting racial hatred.
“We are in a country where the word equality is part of the constitution, which means it doesn’t allow for racism. Does he think these treats adhere to the values of the French Republic?” he asked.
“We must fight this kind of racism. I cannot imagine what would be said (rightly) if an African baker decided to represent Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in a similar way,” Tin added.
The baker, Tannick Tavolaro, was defiant about his creations when they first hit the headlines earlier this month, saying he found the complaint absurd and denied he was a racist.
“At first I thought it was a joke then I read the news. It’s absurd and hurtful. These pastries have absolutely no racial connotation at all,” he said.
“It’s made of chocolate mousse, which is why it’s black. The characters are little human beings, a man and woman but not a black man and a woman,” he explained.
“These people who attack me don’t know my story or my career or who I am. It’s just intellectual terrorism and I won’t yield to that kind of terrorism,” before pledging to continue making his cakes despite the threats he has received.
Tavolaro, who said he is not a member of any political party, said he was taking a stand “for free speech”.
But it’s not the first time a boulangerie has caused controversy. In September last year, a patisserie in Auxerre was forced to change the name of some biscuits called ‘negro’ and ‘bamboula’ (Mboula in Cameroon) after complaints from anti-racism groups.
Even more ridiculous was the scandal in Sweden in 2012 when the then culture minister Adelsohn Liljeroth almost lost her job by cutting into a cake modelled on a black woman’s body which was part of an art project. Unfortunately for Liljeroth, the choice of the vaginal area as the target for her knife caused outrage.