I take responsibility for my antisemitic rant, John Galliano tells Jewish audience


Fashion designer John Galliano has said that he has learned to accept responsibility for the antisemitic comments he made during a drunken rant in 2010.

Speaking at the launch of a new Jewish educational project on Thursday night, the controversial designer said: "I am an alcoholic. I am an addict we addicts are not responsible for our disease. But that is by no means an excuse.

"I do take complete responsibility for my recovery and making amends.I get a daily reprieve from this disease and that comes from total abstinence.”

He said: “I used to blame everyone for what happened, but now I bear no resentment. I have finally come to terms with what happened and what was my part in it. I take responsibility.”

Mr Galliano was the guest at the inaugural session of Connect, an educational partnership between three Orthodox synagogues – Central, Western Marble Arch and New West End.

Answering questions posed by JC journalist Sandy Rashty, he told the 220-strong audience that he has "learnt to take each day as it comes".

He described how he has become friends with Central Synagogue’s rabbi, Barry Marcus. Rabbi Marcus had helped him repair relations with the Jewish community and helped him become more spiritual, he said.

"I pray and I meditate. I have learned to slow down and listen to what God is saying," Mr Galliano said.

He also cited the help he has received from Holocaust survivor Harry Olmer, who was present in the audience.

Mr Galliano said: "What I've learned from him is how to survive. I've become spiritual.If I can help anyone by talking about it I want to and I want to say there is help out there. I want to share with the community."

The designer's appearance at the event marks a further step in his rehabilitation after he was sacked by fashion house Christian Dior four years ago following his antisemitic tirade in a Paris bar.

He was also convicted by a Paris court of making "public insults".

Rabbi Marcus – who received an MBE earlier this year for his work in Holocaust education – stressed the importance of forgiving Mr Galliano.

He said: "I want to talk about forgiveness. Here we have someone of great courage who devoted himself to a period great reflecting. How many of you could live with the constant reminder of your mistakes?

"I am asking because most people, apart from the angels among us, most of us have done something we regret.”

He told the audience the designer should not be treated “more harshly” than any of the “endless lists of celebrities” who had made controversial statements about Jews, including Mel Gibson and the former MPs George Galloway and David Ward.

He said:“That is not the Jewish way and we should show a little graciousness.”

The event also featured a session on fashion and included talks on clothes in the Bible.

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