Dior suspends John Galliano after arrest for street abuse

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris – Gaurdian.co.uk February 25, 2011

Christian Dior has suspended its star British fashion designer John Galliano after he was arrested for an alleged assault and making antisemitic remarks after a late-night drinking session.

Galliano was escorted home by French police late on Thursday after what police said was a drinking session that ended with him hurling insults at a couple.

The chief executive of Dior, Sidney Toledano, said Galliano had been removed from his post. “Dior affirms with the utmost conviction its policy of zero tolerance towards any antisemitic or racist words or behaviour. Pending the results of the inquiry Christian Dior has suspended John Galliano from his responsibilities.”

The flamboyant designer was arrested in the Marais district after allegedly verbally accosting a couple sitting on a cafe terrace.

Galliano had been drinking at a bar beforehand. He was arrested and taken to a police station, where a sobriety test showed him to be just over the legal limit.

Police took him to his home without filing any charges. He was released on the recommendation of the state prosecutor.

One police source told Reuters the outburst had been prompted by stress before the upcoming Paris fashion week at which Dior’s show is always in the spotlight.

Galliano, 50, took the creative reins of Dior in 1996. He has been based in Paris for 20 years and is a regular face in the Marais district, where he has often been seen driving an old-fashioned yellow taxi.

The area is the historic centre of the Jewish community in Paris and was heavily targeted in the deportation roundups of the Nazi occupation. In recent years its narrow streets have been taken over by fashionable shops and bars.


Comment – February 25, 2011

This website doesn’t take too much interest in fashion or those who work in the fashion industry. However, the following was gleaned from a gossip column on a fashion and style” website and it presents a more colourful version of the incident.

According to an eyewitness account, the incident occurred in a Parisian bar/café that has become a favourite haunt for the fashion crowd where Galliano was enjoying a drink.

The onlooker reports that Galliano was in a good mood when a couple seated nearby – who failed to recognize Dior’s top designer – mistook him for a bum and demanded that he move away.

Whereupon, according to Sleek-Mag:

“’On his joyful “cheers everybody!’ the woman and her boyfriend replied ‘You’re ugly, you’re disgusting, move away from here!’ as our eyewitnesses tell us.

“Galliano didn’t react to this statement and raised his glass with other bar guests. He then turned around to respond to the lady, saying:

‘You’re ugly and you’re fucking bag is ugly too.’

“The boyfriend of the women then got up from his chair and aggressively charged it to threaten the designer. Galliano’s bodyguard tried to quiet the situation, as did the staff from “La Perle”, but there was nothing more to do; Galliano and the couple exchanged further insults until the couple called the police while Galliano calmed down and was peacefully smoking his cigarette.”

If this account is true then it would seem that accusations of “anti-Semitism” have reached unprecedented levels.

Yet the more people are accused of anti-Semitism – including Jews who dispute Zionism, human rights campaigners who criticize Israel and now tipsy fashion designers in petty squabbles – the more hollow the accusation sounds. Ed.

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