The controversy over the “faux Fauves” at Saturday’s awards ceremony at the Angoulême comics festival just won’t die down, and festival director Frank Bondous has been revealed as even more of a Sepp Blatter-like asshole enormé – AS IF THAT WERE EVEN POSSIBLE. And yet it is.
As you may recall. on Saturday night, the big festival wrap up — the presentation of the Fauve Awards, the most prestigious award in comics, were presented in an hour long ceremony by comedian Richard Gaitet, who is a radio show host in France. That would be this fellow here just incase you want to throw things at him.
While an account of what actually happened is hard to come by because some of the people who have written the most about it aren’t French or weren’t there, based on a a transcript and help from Beat readers, it seems that as a play on the word “fauve” for cat, Gaitet proceeded to spend EIGHT MINUTES announcing winners of the awards for best Fauve (cat) while A VIDEO OF CATS PLAYED ON THE SCREEN. So this was no last minute idea, but rather a planned part of the multi media extravaganza. As winners in all categories were announced, publishers began tweeting cartoonists, believing these were the real awards. Then Gaitet announced it was all a joke, and pain and humiliation began to seep through the attendees. After all the exposure of FIBD’s lack of awareness of the current publishing world, this was the last straw for many prominent French Cartoonists.
Les "faux fauves" ont affaibli l'impact du vrai palmarès, et blessé cruellement plusieurs auteurs et éditeurs. #FIBD
— Benoît Peeters (@BenoitPeeters) January 31, 2016
Pénible cérémonie de remise des prix à Angoulême, une fois encore. Pourquoi associer la méchanceté et vulgarité à la bande dessinée? #FIBD
— Benoît Peeters (@BenoitPeeters) January 31, 2016
Sur scène, le présentateur de la cérémonie des prix d'Angoulême annonce Olivier Schrauwen Fauve d'or 2016 ! Puis il dit que c'est une blague
— lewistrondheim (@lewistrondheim) January 30, 2016
(BTW this was live streamed on YouTube but I haven’t been able to find the video on the FIBD YouTube channel — maybe it’s been removed?)
The outcry has not died down. Gaitet, sensing that this funny, funny joke wasn’t very funny, issued a seemingly sincere apology in Le Monde.
I extend my sincere apologies to the entire profession following the incredible misunderstanding born Saturday night during the ceremony in the price of 43 th Festival of Angoulême comics.
I had carte blanche. I thought – incorrectly – that it could be fun, absurd, childish, imagine opening a hoax, that challenges the performance of awards. Therefore starting with a false record. By rewarding, since the statuettes have the name and the form of “wild beasts”, tigers, cougars, cats, picks albums in the official selection.
Starting with reward, then, fictional characters. Animals. Visible on a screen behind me, these animals showed that turning a box or hidden in the background. A gag silly schoolboy, but neither wicked nor humiliating. Humanely, without contempt. A kid joke. A little play on words, as there are billions in the history of comics.
But it was not at all, but then not at all neither the place nor the time nor the year to try something like that.
I still don’t see what was INTENDED to be funny about all this, but the director of the Festival, Frank Bondoux—already the object of worldwide derision for his ignorant views on art history— doubled down on being a tone deaf egotistical asshat, saying why didn’t Twitter think this was funny?
“We all know that there is not a ceremony of awards ceremony today, Oscar To the golden globes, which is not led by a comedian. The Presenter came in disguised as fantasio, clown; it was clearly come here for fun. No visual of favourite falsely winners has also been shown on the screen and statuettes have not been given to the winners, because they have not been invited to be on the stage. Let me remind you, finally, that we were in the framework of a festival of comics who is an art which likes to make fun of the world, but also of himself. ”
“The presenter was a clown announcing the surrender of the Fauves to felines and finally given a Grand prize to a woman of 2.50 meters. That’s … That only lasted 8 minutes and 17 seconds on a 1:40 ceremony . All major ceremonies of the Caesars Golden Globe, practice self-deprecating. The problem is the dictatorship of the tweet. “
In case you don’t get that part, they actually called up a the tallest woman cartoonist in France on the stage to show…how big women are ????
No wonder these people think Jerry Lewis is funny.
While you’re waiting for Carrie to come back and shower Bondoux in blood, you may be wondering when the Festival is going to get rid of this guy. The answer is, sadly, probably never. FIBD is actually run by three different entities (which I may have the names wrong but this is how it’s described to me.) There’s the town of Angoulême itself, which years ago decided to seize on comics as its specialty, resulting in the fest’s grand reputation now.
There’s the actual Festival, a relatively weak organization, oddly enough that has been increasingly squeezed out by…
Bondoux’s company 9eArt + which was actually hired by the town and festival to physically run it in 2007. In recent years Bondoux has made one power play after another, including trademarking the name of the festival for himself. This action, about a year ago, drew many worried opinions from the French cartooning community—obviously they were aware that Bondoux was a total asshat, the damage to the show’s reputation this year alone, since Bondoux’s bigger power play, shows that.
The grand jury that actually selected the prizes has a released a statement of their own, condemning the cruel joke. (Translation by Matt Madden, a member of the jury.)
An open letter from the grand jury of the Angoulême International Comics Festival:
We, the members of the Grand Jury for this year’s Angoulême International Comics Festival, had an amiable meeting during which we chose the winners of the “fauves” in perfect harmony. We were surprised to be left out of the awards ceremony and then alarmed to hear the MC, whom we’ve never met, claim that we’d gone through contentious deliberations. By the end we were stupefied by the cruelty and vulgarity of the ceremony as a whole. The announcement of fake awards, which broke the hearts of numerous authors, publishers, and readers, in addition to the sexist and off-color remarks of the MC are beneath the dignity of a festival that remains an internationally respected flagship event in the world of comics. We are happy to have had the chance to make a contribution by awarding radical, unique works that will mark the history of the Ninth Art.
FINALLY (at least for the moment) FIBD revels in actual funny satires, such as the «Couilles au cul» awards, an alternate award that translate as “Sucking Ass” whose trophy is a pair of giant brass balls. It was created by cartoonist Yan Lindingre, who is surely funnier than Twitter, Gaitet or Bondoux. These were presented and Tunisian cartoonist Nadia Khiari won.
“I dedicate this award to all those who prefer freedom to security, those who are not afraid, those who resist,” said the designer. Nadia Khiari, 42, has embarked on the satirical drawing since the Tunisian revolution of 2011. She is the author of the adventures of the cat Willis from Tunis, a mischievous and mocking cat that does not respect anything or anyone except freedom. “For the pessimists who say that the Arab Spring is still a failure, I say that we should not underestimate us. It takes time. The Revolution is a long time but it’s good, “said the winner.
While the French cartooning industry remains a role model for the US in terms of widespread respect, this entire sequence of events has also revealed that FIBD at least is in the hands of a sexist bully who doesn’t seem to understand anything about a living breathing art form. The French will make a big deal out of this as they do with any scandal, but it has raised real questions that deserve real answers.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.