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France is blighted by “deep-seated racism”, the country’s most prominent black newsreader claimed yesterday, following outrage over “monkey” comments concerning the black justice minister.

Harry Roselmack, 40, became the first non-white presenter of a French mainstream television news programme when he stood in seven years ago on the evening broadcast of the country’s most-watched channel, TF1.

But yesterday the poster boy for Gallic multiculturalism said that for all the country’s supposed advances, “racist France is back”.

In an opinion piece in Le Monde newspaper, Mr Roselmack lamented “the deep-seated racism that withstands time and words of order, not just within the FN [the far-Right Front National] but in the deepest parts of French society”.

While the values of the republic allowed him to forget he was black “most of the time”, recent events have “reduced me to my negro condition”, he said.

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