John Galliano found guilty of public insult, antisemitism

By Jennifer Lipman, September 8, 2011
John Galliano

John Galliano

John Galliano has been found guilty of antisemitic and racist behaviour.

The 50-year-old couturier was given a 4,000 Euro suspended fine and another 2,000 Euro fine for a second complaint.

The former chief designer for Dior was arrested in February following an incident at a Paris cafe. He was fired from his job in the wake of the scandal, which prompted condemnation from Jewish actress and Dior model Natalie Portman.

He was alleged to have made offensive comments about Jewish people and was also caught on camera proclaiming his love for Hitler. In the first incident, he called Geraldine Bloch a "dirty Jew" and insulted another man.

In the second, he told Italian women that "People like you would be gassed".

Ms Bloch said of the alleged insults: "There were variations, but the word Jewish kept coming back."

Galliano was charged with making public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity earlier this year and appeared in court in June.

The charges could have landed him with a £21,000 fine or up to six months in jail

At his court hearing, he blamed alcohol, valium and sleeping pills for his erratic behaviour. He said he was in rehab and highlighted the impact of his father's death and the financial crisis of 2008 on his personal welfare.

But he also said he could not recall the incidents that landed him in court.

Anne-Marie Sauteraud, who presided over the tribunal, said in court: "Despite the triple addiction from which he was suffering, he was lucid enough to be conscious of his acts."

Ms Bloch's lawyer Yves Beddouk said Galliano's real punishment was being stripped of his iconic status. He said: "The court's verdict will serve as an example."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, welcomed the verdict. "The court has rightly recognised the deep offence caused by John Galliano’s remarks and callous references to the Holocaust," she said.

"His outburst was a grave insult to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and today’s guilty verdict sends a clear signal that such behaviour is completely unacceptable."

Last updated: 3:47pm, September 8 2011