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Gaul’s Gall at Galliano

Ex-Dior designer is in court today for anti-Semitic remarks

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John Galliano last September.(Samir Hussein/Getty Images)

“So typical of a fashion event: we’re already 20 mins late.” GQ Fashion is live-tweeting the John Galliano trial this afternoon in France, and it is transfixing. The English designer, formerly of Dior, was caught in February saying “I love Hitler” and more specifically anti-Semitic things to two customers at a café whom he thought were Jewish. (“Judge now reading the alleged slurs,” GQ Fashion tweets. “Some people laugh uncomfortably.”) As expected, Galliano has told the judge he does not remember saying the slurs because he was under the influence of substances. Galliano has acknowledged a substance problem and sought treatment, apologized for his remarks, and denied being an anti-Semite. GQ Fashion: “Jg says be started drink bc Dior was doing well he said after each creative high he would crash. drink helped him escape.”

Meanwhile, Barneys fashion director Simon Doonan, proud husband of a Jewish man (he doesn’t mention who, but it is Jonathan Adler; anyone who has spent time strolling the West Village knows they have an adorable dog), pens a paean to the Jews who have made his career in the fashion industry. On the one hand, it smacks of the sort of philo-Semitism that Adam Kirsch rightly viewed skeptically; also, Doonan’s line, “The difference between a pink triangle and a yellow star is, after all, only three more points,” is, um, not true. But Doonan is also perceptive in remarking, “I suspect that John Galliano could, were he thus inclined, tell a story very similar to mine,” and in observing that a fashion professional who hates on Jews is biting several different hands that feed him.

But follow the live-tweeting for the next few hours—should be fun. And remember that Galliano’s alleged crime—he faces charges of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity,” which could end up costing him up to $38,000 in fines and up to six months in jail—is not illegal in the United States.

@GQfashion
Designer Galliano Goes on Trial for Anti-Semitic Remarks [JTA]
Galliano’s Trial to Open in France [NYT]
What Was Galliano Thinking? [Slate]
Related: Frenemies [Tablet Magazine]

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Steve Stein says:

I hate anti-Semitism, but the idea that it would be illegal (absent any demonstrable harm to anyone) is really foreign to me.

The rationale behind expressions of antisemitism being a criminal offense in France and other European countries has to do with the very active role much of French society took in the Holocaust. The idea is to prevent these people from organizing and taking control of the government again.

Steve Stein says:

@Ian Thal – oh, I get that. Just grates on my American sensibilities. But, as I recall, so did Nazi-ism.

America and Europe are two different places. If you allow anti-Semites to express themselves in America they might go so far as engage in criminal activity. If you allow anti-Semites to express themselves in Europe, they might form a government.

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Gaul’s Gall at Galliano

Ex-Dior designer is in court today for anti-Semitic remarks

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