John Galliano fired after Portman expresses disgust

Mar 1, 2011
Sophie Taylor

Jewish Oscar-winning actress disassociates herself from Dior's head designer - who is promptly fired

John Galliano was sacked today as Dior's head designer, within hours of the Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman saying: "I will not be associated with Mr Galliano in any way".

Portman's complaint was issued after a video came to light which showed the British designer making anti-semitic remarks to people in a Paris café. "I love Hitler... People like you would be dead," Galliano is seen and heard saying. "Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed."

Portman told the New York Times yesterday: "I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments that surfaced today. 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."

This was deadly serious for the Paris fashion house, because Portman is the spokesperson for Parfums Christian Dior. If she was disassociating herself with Galliano, it was hard to see how she could continue her relationship with Dior, his employer.

However, it is unlikely it was Portman's complaint alone that got Galliano fired. Dior's chief executive Sidney Toledano is also from a Jewish family and was clearly outraged by the video. Announcing Galliano's departure today, Toledano said: "I very firmly condemn what was said by John Galliano". The alleged comments "totally contradict the values which have always been defended by Christian Dior".

Galliano was still denying making anti-semitic remarks to another couple in Paris last week when the video was posted yesterday.

Following the publicity surrounding last week's episode - when Galliano was alleged to have shouted "Dirty Jew face, you should be dead" - Portman said nothing. But she appeared at the Oscars ceremony wearing a Rodarte dress rather than an outfit by Galliano.

The timing of Galliano's departure is terrible. This is Paris Fashion Week and Dior are due to show their designer's latest collection on Friday. To show his work without him taking a bow at the end is unthinkable - and yet it may be the only answer. As for Galliano's own label show, his press office says it will go ahead as planned on Sunday.

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