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Jewish Journal

Charlie Sheen and John Galliano—both Jewish?!?

by Naomi Pfefferman

March 6, 2011 | 2:26 pm

John Galliano

In the aftermath of Charlie Sheen’s anti-Semitic rants last week, the actor told Access Hollywood that he is MOT.  Replied the show’s host:  “You’re getting accused of anti-Semitic remarks; you might want to say, ‘By the way, I’m Jewish!’”  “I know, I know — stupid me,” said Sheen. Now another celebrity who has been disgraced for his own anti-Semitic rants — ex-chief designer John Galliano of Dior, whose “I Love Hitler” remarks were caught on videotape —may have Jewish roots, too. 

According to a March 5 profile of the fashionista in Britain’s Daily Mail, during his tenure at Dior, “Galliano became a familiar figure on the streets of Le Marais, an area of Paris popular with gays and also — ironically enough — the city’s Jewish community.

It was no secret that Galliano shared his Paris home with his long-term boyfriend Alexis Roche, a style consultant.

What is less well known is that — according to a confidant of his, whom the Mail talked to this week — the designer loved to emphasise his own Jewish ancestry.

Perched in La Perle, mojito (his preferred cocktail) in hand, Galliano would tell anyone who listened about the melting pot of his heritage.

He always insisted he had Jewish blood from the Sephardi Jews who came from Spain and Portugal in the 19th century.

Johnny is obsessed with the idea of being descended from Jews,’ the confidant, who often drank with him at La Perle, reports. ‘He was brought up a Catholic, but has always been aware of the influence Jews have had on his life.

‘Johnny was particularly fascinated by the fact that couture in Paris was traditionally a Jewish industry.’

He added that, when sober, Galliano spoke authoritatively about the Holocaust, and particularly about the fact that thousands who worked in the fashion business in Paris were murdered by the Nazis.

‘Johnny knows that Paris designers were exterminated systematically by the Nazis in living memory. To me, the freaky language in a Paris bar was just nonsense — an attempt to shock strangers in bars.

‘He just didn’t want to present them with the image they expected — he wanted to surprise. He does this on the catwalk, so why not in a bar?’

Galliano has attempted to fight back, apologising for the video and said he is not responsible for any other racist abuse.

His supporters are insisting he is not anti-Semitic but simply attention-seeking. However, their protestations are doing little to assuage the anger of his former employer; Dior hastily severed links with its star designer, and its high-profile ‘face’ Natalie Portman spoke of her ‘shock and disgust’ at his behaviour.”

Now as Galliano has checked into a rehab near Phoenix, AZ, and reportedly could face court proceedings for making racist remarks, one could very well wonder:  Is Mel Gibson Jewish, too?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Naomi Pfefferman Magid is the arts & entertainment editor of the Jewish Journal, where she’s spent the last quarter century interviewing everyone from Seth Rogen, Natalie...

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