Galliano fined for anti- Semitic rants in Paris bar

Sep 8, 2011
Jonathan Harwood

The former chief designer at Dior escapes with a suspended fine of €6,000 after ‘public insult’ conviction

FASHION designer John Galliano has been found guilty of making racist and anti-Semitic insults during two rows at a Paris bar, but walked away from a French court with just the threat of a €6,000 fine hanging over him if he offends again.

Christian Dior's former chief designer stood trial in June charged with making "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" after two incidents in February 2011 and October 2010. He was not at court for sentencing, and prosecutors did not ask for him to be given a jail sentence.

Galliano was arrested after video footage emerged of him telling drinkers outside La Perle bar in Paris's Marais district that he "loved Hitler" and others came forward to say that they too had been abused.

Geraldine Bloch said she was at the bar in February this year when he insulted her and a friend, using phrases including "dirty Jewish face", "fucking ugly Jewish bitch" and "fucking Asian bastard". He also criticised her looks and style. A second woman came forward to claim that he had abused her in the same bar in October.

Galliano was given a suspended fine and must also pay one euro in symbolic damages to each of his victims and five anti-racism groups who lodged complaints against him. He will also pay legal costs to some of the groups.

After the ruling Galliano's lawyer Aurelien Hamelle said the designer was "relieved that these eight months are behind him. He is looking forward to a future with understanding and forgiveness, hopefully, and to put all of this behind him".

During his trial Galliano said that he had a "triple addiction" to alcohol, sleeping tablets and Valium and insisted he was not racist. He said: "I see someone who needs help, who's vulnerable. It's the shell of John Galliano. I see someone who's been pushed to the edge."

Although he lost his job at Dior and became something of a pariah in the fashion world, things have not been all bad for Galliano. Kate Moss stood by the troubled fashionista and asked him to design her wedding dress earlier this year. He described that challenge as "creative rehab" and told Vogue: "She dared me to be John Galliano again."

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