Emmanuel Macron, the president – who last month promised to introduce compulsory drama classes and art history in schools – reportedly convinced Ms Dati to take the ministerial post by promising to shake up an elitist cultural system.
He also supposedly promised to back her ambitions to become mayor of Paris in 2026.
In a speech last week, Ms Dati pledged to “put culture at the heart of our social project so that culture is an experience offered to all…so that no one can say: ‘It’s not for me.’”
The notion of wokeism (the French use the English term), along with that of cancel culture, were slower to reach France than America and the UK but are a hot-button issue in the run-up to European elections in June in which Mr Macron’s Renaissance group faces defeat against Ms Le Pen’s party.
As well as taking up the defence of farmers, Jordan Bardella, RN’s campaign leader, has also taken aim at creeping wokeism in French society.
The daughter of an illiterate Moroccan bricklayer and an Algerian mother, Ms Dati is seen – along with Mr Attal himself – as a silver-tongued foil to RN’s rise due to her “common touch” and hatred of political correctness.
‘Culture is not about erasure’
She said she had called a meeting “next week of the regional directors of cultural action”, adding: “I will be asking them to ensure that we support creative freedom, and not to support these new censors.”
“Fighting against discrimination and social determinism is a battle. Culture is not about deconstruction or erasure. I will not be on the side of the censors,” she said.
Ms Dati is not the first Macron minister to aim at wokeism. Jean-Michel Blanquer, his former education minister, once described it as a threat to France’s democracy.
She took over from Rima Abdul Malak, who angered Mr Macron in December, when she joined the outcry against Gérard Depardieu, the actor accused of sexual assault, while the president was defending him against what he called a public “lynching”.