French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu took a swipe at Disney’s latest “Black Panther” movie, accusing the filmmakers of a “false and misleading representation” of French soldiers.
The plot of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” involves Western countries, particularly France, trying to steal the resources of a fictional high-tech African country. In one scene from the film, captured mercenaries working under French orders are brought before the United Nations after they attack a Wakandan outpost in Mali to loot minerals.
Lecornu was responding to a journalist who pointed out that the film’s fictional mercenaries were wearing the uniforms of actual French forces at the Barkhane mission in Mali, where troops from Paris fought Islamic extremists at the request of the Malian government from 2013 until their final withdrawal. August
“I strongly condemn this misleading and deceptive representation of our armed forces,” Lecornu said Tweet. “I think and pay tribute to the 58 French soldiers who died defending against Islamist terrorist groups at the request of Mali.”
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last February, France announced the end of a nine-year military campaign in Mali, where former president Francois Hollande had sent his troops to prevent the expansion of terrorist groups in the region.
Although French troops were initially sent at Mali’s request, support for the operation later waned – notably, according to Paris, due to the presence of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group, fueling anti-French sentiment in the country.
Less than three weeks before France announced the end of its military campaign, the country’s ruling junta expelled Paris’ ambassador to Bamako and thousands of anti-French protesters gathered in the capital, with some burning cardboard effigies of French President Emmanuel Macron, and other demonstrators waving Russian flags.