Charlie Hebdo on Paris Terrorists: ‘F*ck Them!’

A year after the attack on the satirical magazine, a look at its most shocking covers—including a Frenchman bleeding Champagne who says ‘fuck them’ to terrorists.

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo

January 2016

A year after the Charile Hebdo massacre, the satirical newspaper printed a cover depicting a crazed, blood-splattered God with the caption “The killer is still out there.”

via Charlie Hebdo

November 2015

No stranger to defiance, satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo responded to the Paris terrorist attack with a cover that translates to “They have arms. Fuck them, we got the Champagne!” The cover mirrors the sentiment of the cartoon Hebdo artist Joann Start posted on Instagram after the Paris attacks, that Paris is “about life” rather than religion. “Our faith goes to music! Kisses! Life! Champagne and joy!”

via Charlie Hebdo

January 2015

After the Jan. 7 attack on Charlie Hebdo's office, the publication responded with a cover of teary-eyed Mohammed holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign. The text above the sign translates to “All is forgiven.” The cover was drawn by contributer Rénald Luzier—known as Luz—who has since left Hebdo.

January 2015

After two Muslim terrorists assassinated four cartoonists for insulting Islam (killing 12 people in total) in January, the newspaper printed nearly 8 million copies with Muhammad on the cover holding a sign that said, “Je Suis Charlie,” below the headline, “All is forgiven.”

Charlie Hedbo

October 2014

In this cover about ISIS from 2014, entitled “If Muhammed Returned,” the cartoonists imagine a jihadist growling, “Shut up, Infidel!” to the holy man, who protests, “I’m the Prophet, idiot!”

Charlie Hedbo

July 2013

On this cover, published during a bloody crackdown by Egyptian authorities on the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, the cartoonists drew a man exclaiming, “The Koran is worthless—it doesn’t even stop bullets!”

Charlie Hedbo

September 2012

Charlie Hebdo made fun of fundamentalists of all stripes. In this cover, entitled, “Untouchables 2” (playing off the French film, The Untouchables, about an unlikely friendship), a Hasidic man pushes a wheelchair with a Muslim in it. “Don’t make fun,” the invalid says.

Charlie Hedbo

December 2011

“Love Is More Powerful Than Hate”

‘Muhammad Overwhelmed’ (2006)

Arguably Charlie Hebdo’s most controversial cover, the Feb. 9, 2006, issue featured a weeping Muhammad with the headline, “Muhammad Overwhelmed by Fundamentalists.” (In the dialogue bubble, he’s saying, “It’s hard being loved by assholes.”) But the real offense was what was inside: the 12 cartoons originally published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that caricatured Islam’s holiest prophet. French President Jacques Chirac denounced Charlie Hebdo for reprinting the cartoons, and Muslim groups sued the magazine. Courts ruled in Charlie Hebdo’s favor in 2007.

‘Charlie Hebdo Must Be Veiled!' (2007)

Lest you think Charlie Hebdo reserves all its vicious covers for Muslims, be assured it’s an equal-opportunity offender. Before its editor was acquitted of charges from the Muhammad cartoons, Charlie Hebdo published a special issue of cartoons with a cover depicting a Jew, the pope, and an Islamic fundamentalist shouting, “Charlie Hebdo must be veiled!”

‘I Slept With My Dad to Get Ahead!’ (2009)

Religion is far from the magazine’s only punching bag: French politicians provide lots of material as well. This cover mocked the nepotism of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who tried to get his 23-year-old son, then a first-year law student, a job running Paris’s most important financial district. The press jumped on the move, calling Jean Sarkozy “Prince Jean” and “the dauphin,” and a public outcry denounced his youth and lack of professional experience, eventually leading the young Sarkozy to back out of the job offer. 

‘Wear the Burqa … on the Inside!’ (2010)

Amid a burning controversy in France over a law banning Muslim women from wearing burqas in public, Charlie Hebdo expressed its support for the ban with the headline “Yes to wearing the burqa … on the inside!” In case anyone missed the meaning, the accompanying cartoon laid it bare.

‘Vote Asshole’ (1971)

Just three years after the student riots of 1968, French cartoonist Georges Wolinski drew the cover cartoon with a caption that captured Charlie Hebdo’s withering anti-government bent and became an instant classic: “Vote asshole … you don’t have a choice.” The phrase still pops up in French graffiti today.

‘I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!’ (2006)

Television is a perennial object of the magazine’s wrath, particularly programs perceived as representing American cultural imperialism. (This cover, for example, declared, “Television will change French habits.”) In 2006 the magazine savaged the French television network TF1 for picking up reality shows. “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!” yells a cartoon Jesus, poking fun at the title of the American survival show featuring celebrity has-beens.

‘The Pope Goes Too Far’ (2010)

This cover, one of many mocking the Catholic Church, depicted Pope Benedict XVI holding a Durex condom aloft, declaring “This is my body!”—a line from the Christian eucharist that refers to Christ’s crucifixion. The cover came after a series of confusing statements by the pope about the rare instances in which the church approves of condom use to prevent disease.

‘Look, No Hands!’ (2001)

Leave it to Charlie Hebdo to dare to run a humorous take on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks just weeks after the fact. The magazine’s Nov. 14, 2001, issue showed Osama bin Laden joking about pulling off the attacks on New York with “no hands.”

‘DSK for President!’ (2011)

The news that Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been arrested in New York in May on charges of sexual harassment caused a tsunami in French politics. The director of the International Monetary Fund had been a leading candidate for the French presidency in 2012, but his tarnished reputation meant the Socialist Party would face an internal war to find a new candidate. In July, Charlie Hebdo celebrated the chaos with this cover, showing DSK parading through a confetti-like shower of condoms.

John Galliano’s Mannequin (2011)

Dior designer John Galliano consumed the buzz at prêt-a-porter fashion week in Paris in February after he screamed anti-Semitic insults during a bar fight in Paris. (He was eventually convicted by a French court.) Charlie Hebdo jumped at the chance to combine two of its longstanding targets, celebrities and French right-wingers. The cover showed Marine Le Pen, the daughter of the far-right politician who founded France’s National Front party, as a mannequin in Galliano’s fashion house. Le Pen challenged President Nicolas Sarkozy from the right in the 2012 presidential election.

‘Michael Jackson, White at Last’ (2009)

As far as Charlie Hebdo was concerned, Michael Jackson got what he’d always wanted.