The racism trial of the fired Dior designer John Galliano began today. The once highly successful stylist will stand trial for at least two instances of using anti-Semitic language in a café in Paris, France in the last year.
Galliano (50) is accused of making “”public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity.” If found guilty, he faces up to six months in prison, and fines totaling the equivalent of US$32,175.
In February 2011, a couple reported the designer for yelling Anti-Semitic abuse at them. Shortly afterwards, the UK newspaper “The Sun” posted a video taken at the same cafe the previous October. In the video, Galliano is seen to be saying to someone he perceived as being Jewish, “I love Hitler … [If he were a ruler,] people like you would be dead … your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f-ing gassed.”
Today’s court hearing will deal with both these incidents.
Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, an endorser of Dior, stated that she would quit this role if Galliano were kept on the payroll.
“I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today,” Portman told the “New York Times” on March 1. “In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.”
That very same day, Dior announced that “because of the particularly odious nature of the behavior and words of John Galliano in a video made public … the Christian Dior house has decided to lay him off immediately and has begun firing procedures against him.”
Galliano had worked for the Dior fashion house for 14 years.
Since his firing, John Galliano says he has sought rehab for his problems with alcohol and prescription drugs, which his lawyer, Aurelien Hamelle, claims spurred the racist rants.
In a statement released shortly after he was fired by Dior, Galliano said, “Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologize for my behavior in causing any offense.”
We will have to wait and see whether the court imposes any further punishment on John Galliano. Do you believe that it should? Let us know in the comments section below.