I think I can say with so me certainty that the fashion world was rocked, when allegations surfaced a few days ago of an anti-semitic and hateful speech made by John Galliano in the restaurant La Perle towards some customers. It got even stranger when a day later Dior suspended him, pending a full investigation and then a day after that a viral video, taken months previous was published on The Sun website showing a visibly drunk Galliano shouting at a couple that he loved Hitler and that they would have been gassed if Hitler had been alive.
The response was swift and vicious; Galliano was fired from Dior, there is an ongoing police investigation where he will now face prosecution and Natalie Portman, a proud Jewish woman who represents the Dior perfume Miss Dior has made a public statement. In it she stated;
“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. I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.”
I adore the work of John Galliano, especially his haute couture shows for Dior and like any other sensible and reasonable thinking human being, find such language horrific and disgusting; but isn’t everyone going a little extreme with this?
French laws are much stricter than they are in Britain or Ireland or the US; there hate speech is seen as a criminal offense and one that the French justice system isn’t afraid of pursuing. But many people who have worked with Galliano over the years have come out and expressed that these are not the true thoughts of an anti-semitic man. In fact, as the video clearly shows, he was incredibly drunk and provoked by the couple.
Another thing worth noting is the timing of the release of this video. It had originally been taken back in December 2010, but wasn’t released until days after the first allegation. To add fuel to the fire of doubt, the company which sold the video to the British Sun, CitizenSide had previously tried to sell the video to the French media, only to have their contacts balk at the prospect, fearing they would anger the House of Dior, a major sponsor. The founder of CitizenSide, Philippe Checinski, has also publicly stated that the owner of the video would receive 65 per cent of the profits in France and 50 per cent of the profits internationally. Checinski has also added, “I can tell you that the contributor is very happy” with the sale of the video.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories or a belief that some almighty powerful Jewish businessmen are out to take down Galliano, or that it has something to do with the French always hating the British, but the timing of the release of this video is suspect.
Galliano has since released a statement saying among other things that he is deeply sorry and he felt he was provoked by a man threatening to hit him with a chair and has since entered rehab, believed to be Meadows in Wickenberg, Arizona.
He is undoubtedly a deeply troubled man, with some serious issues that would cause such rage to co me out when he is drunk, but that does not make him racist or an anti-semite. It is time people remembered that. How many times have you said something hurtful and insulting when you were drunk and provoked.
So lastly it’s with a sad heart we say goodbye to a creative genius and one of the most iconic creative directors of Christian Dior. I will particularly miss his Haute Couture shows and I wish him a speedy recovery.
Here’s an image of probably some of my most favourite Dior gowns he has ever created.
Let me know what you think about this entire scandal.