Galliano apologizes for anti-Semitic insults

Christian Dior designer says anti-Semitism "have no part in our society" and "unreservedly" apologizes for causing any offense.

John Galliano 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
John Galliano 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
PARIS - Disgraced designer John Galliano apologized "unreservedly" on Wednesday for behavior which has cost him his job at luxury label Christian Dior and changed his fortunes overnight from fashion star to figure of ridicule.
Dior said on Wednesday it intended to go ahead with its Friday ready-to-wear show one day after it fired Galliano for his "odious" behavior on a widely viewed video showing its former chief designer spewing anti-Semitic insults and expressing his admiration for Adolf Hitler.
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Galliano, who had been with Dior since 1996, said in a statement that anti-Semitism and racism "have no part in our society" and "unreservedly" apologized for causing any offense.
The fallen star is expected to hear by the end of the week whether Paris prosecutors will put him on trial for uttering anti-Semitic insults after complaints he hurled racist abuse at people in a Paris bar last Thursday and in October.
The video surfaced after the accusations were made public and has raced across the Internet. It shows Galliano in a bar wearing a funny grey hat, looking a little worse for wear and slurring anti-Semitic insults into the camera.
It is uncertain when the video was taken.
The designer said a number of independent witnesses at the bar on Thursday had told the police "he was subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing." "For these reasons I have commenced proceedings for defamation and the threats made against me," he said in the statement.
Dior said it would go on with Galliano's autumn-winter 2011 collection for the fashion house.
However, industry watchers said they were not looking forward to the awkwardness of having to applaud the creations of a designer who could face trial for racist slurs.
"The show is being maintained," a Dior spokeswoman told Reuters. "The invitations have been sent out and the seating has been done as usual. No one has informed us they are not planning to come." However, it was not clear whether the fashion show of John Galliano's own label would go ahead as planned on Sunday and the designer's ousting raised questions about the future of his own fashion house, which is 90 percent owned by Christian Dior.
"We are asking ourselves questions," one person close to the brand said, declining to be named. The John Galliano press office decline to comment.
Chief Executive Sidney Toledano said on Tuesday the "odious nature" of Galliano's behavior on the video led Dior to relieve him of his duties after 15 years as the label's chief designer.
Actress Natalie Portman, who has a deal to promote Miss Dior Cherie perfume, voiced her disgust with Galliano late on Monday in New York and said she wanted nothing more to do with him.