During a six minute trial in a French court, John Galliano blamed his “triple addition” on alcohol, Valium, and sleeping pills, according to the Daily Beast, for the anti-Semitic rant that violated French law and cost Galliano his job.
Though he escaped a possible six-month jail sentence, Galliano was found guilty of “public insults toward persons on the basis of their religion or origin” and must pay a fine of $8,500.
Back in March, Galliano was caught on video extolling Hitler and denigrating Jews in the Paris cafe, La Perle. He referred to one woman seated near him, identified as Géraldine Bloch, as a “dirty Jewish face.” Shortly thereafter, the actress Natalie Portman, who is the face of Miss Dior Cherie perfume, issued a public statement castigating the designer: “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.”
Galliano was promptly fired from the top Paris fashion house.
According to The Daily Beast, five antiracism groups joined the civil case against Galliano. He reportedly called another cafe patron, Philippe Virgitti, a “f—king Asian bastard” though the court was unwilling to grant him $300,000 in alleged damages.
The court gave several reasons for its clemency: The insults were indeed public, but the “extreme publicity” they received in the world press was not Galliano’s doing…The defense produced attestations from Galliano colleagues vouching for the “values of respect and tolerance to which the defendant generally adheres” and a doctor’s certificate confirmed the couturier was pursuing treatment and was in “total and stable remission” from his addictions. It was Galliano’s first criminal offense and, the court emphasized, he apologized to the victims at trial.
Apparently, even Virgitti, one of Galliano’s accusers, said he doesn’t believe Galliano is a full-fledged anti-Semite. Whether or not that is the case, the media does seem to bear some culpability for spinning anti-Semitic statements into a PR plague, and as I’ve said before, not all anti-Semites are created equal.
Still, I’m not going to cry over the loss of Galliano, the great designer. I’d rather gloat over the delicious irony that the Jewish Marc Jacobs might replace him.