06/15/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Free Brigitte Bardot!

Have you heard that Brigitte Bardot was convicted this week in France for "inciting racial hatred?" Here's what the 73-year-old former sex goddess wrote about the Muslim population in France that landed her in hot water:

"I am fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country, and imposing its acts."

Oy. In part she was protesting the ritual slaughtering of sheep by Muslims (without stunning them first) as part of the festival of Eid al-Adha. This was Bardot's fifth conviction for racial issues and she was fined 15,000 Euros.

Bardotfilm Do any young people today even know who Brigitte Bardot is? She was an international sensation in the 1950s and 60s, and almost single-handedly responsible for a resurgence of interest in French films in art houses all over this country, even if the films were often pitched as saucy "adults only" presentations. Bardot's first huge hit in this country was "And God Created Woman" directed by her husband Roger Vadim, the man who would later marry Jane Fonda. Bardot started her relationship with Vadim when she was 15 years old and married him at 18. But that didn't stop her from having an affair with her costar in "And God Created Woman," Jean-Louis Trintignant, a dalliance that Vadim knew about and supported. Oh, those crazy frogs! When the film was released in December 1957, the Los Angeles Times called it "the most fabulous frolic of the year, starring the most fabulous wench of the decade."

For someone who never really made it in American films, Bardot was a massive star on these shores, and reporters followed her every shocking move including several nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts.

Bardotbillymumy My first exposure to Bardot was a very odd Jimmy Stewart film from 1965 called "Dear Brigitte." I haven't seen this film since I was a little kid but it made a huge impression on me. Stewart plays a professor who has a genius son named Erasmus played by Billy Mumy who would soon take on the iconic role of Will Robinson on the TV show " Lost in Space." In "Dear Brigitte," young Erasmus has an over-the-top crush on Brigitte Bardot and writes her endless love letters. Because of his letters, the young boy is eventually invited by Bardot to France (along with his dad) where they meet the screen vixen. Was this film responsible for me becoming a major Francophile (I never thought about that until just now but I honestly think it may have been!) as well as my penchant for writing fan letters to celebrities at a very early age?

Brigittebardot3 This was one of the only Bardot films I was allowed to see as a child but I was as transfixed by her beauty and sex appeal as the rest of the planet. Bardot retired from films just before she turned 40 and turned her attentions to animal rights activism. She brought a lot of awareness to the horrible way baby seals were being clubbed to death and did a lot of good work in that arena, even though with every passing year she seemed to be getting more conservative. It didn't help matters that following two other marriages, including one to actor Jacques Charrier that produced a son named Nicholas, she ended up married to Bernard d'Ornale, a right-wing former advisor to the National Front party which was founded by vile anti-Semitic politician Jean-Marie Le Pen. Oh-la-la, Brigitte, qu'est-ce que tu fais, ma chérie?

After being accused of homophobia following some derogatory comments she made about gays in a book, Bardot wrote a letter to a gay magazine in France to defend herself:

Apart from my husband--who maybe will cross over one day as well--I am entirely surrounded by homos. For years, they have been my support, my friends, my adopted children, my confidants.

Interesting comment about her husband, no? Bardot is currently estranged from her son Nicholas and did not spend much time with him when he was growing up. When Nicholas was 13, she told a reporter that when she's with her son, "we play poker and he tries on my things, to see if there is anything he likes. Thank God he is being raised by his father. A woman would make a homosexual out of him."

In another frank interview from the early 70s, Bardot was asked if she'd like to have more children.

I think I'm not made to be a mother. I don't know why this is because I adore animals and I adore children, too, but I'm not adult enough--and I know it's horrible to have to admit that at 37 I'm not adult enough to take care of a child. I need somebody to take care of me! It's such a big responsibility to have a baby. Life is so hard now, we don't know what is going to happen to the world tomorrow or even in the next hour. I'm very sad to have had that baby--well, he is not a baby now. I don't want him to be confused by seeing me too often...I don't want him to have worries like: Where is my family? Where is my home?

Yikes. It's hard to imagine any American superstar being so truthful in an interview. When asked how Bardot would describe her own soul, she answered: "Like a labyrinth. Dark--no light enough for me to find the door to escape, to freedom."


The former movie queen is hard to figure out. Her foundation continues to do good work, and all would be peachy if Bardot would just keep her big mouth shut. Her 2004 conviction for inciting racial hatred came after she wrote about "the underground and dangerous infiltration of Islam" in France. She also condemned the "mixing of genes" and compared her beliefs with previous generations who had "given their lives to push out invaders."

Dear God. Does the troubled Brigitte Bardot sound like a misguided jackass? ABSOLUTELY. Should she be tried by a court of law for her views? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I'm grateful that for the most part we are still free to express our opinions in this country, no matter how idiotic they may be, without fearing prosecution. Or am I kidding myself?