DesignTracker| In a decisive move that must have Bernard Arnault up all night drinking whiskey, Dior has suspended designer John Galliano pending a full investigation of the incident this week in which the designer became embroiled in an argument with a couple in a cafe.
“Christian Dior has an unequivocal zero-tolerance policy regarding anti-Semitism and racism,” stated Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of Dior Couture.
“Witnesses said [Galliano] swore heavily, using anti-Jewish insults, before attacking a couple. Both have provided witness statements, as have a number of other people at the bar, including staff.” via Telegraph UK
The couple is identified on Le Figaro’s website as Géraldine Bloch, 35, and Philippe Virgiti, 41. WWD reports that John Galliano has already filed a claim of defamation and injury against the couple. Galliano’s chauffeur denies that he uttered the following statements, that are translated by Huff Po from Le Figaro, who gained access to the police records.
This is only the couple’s allegations of what was said. Every word here is denied by John Galliano.
The incident started around 9 p.m. at La Perle in Paris’ Third Arrondissement. Galliano allegedly yelled (based on our translation) “Dirty jewish face, you should be dead!” and “Fucking Asian bastard, i will kill you!” to Virgiti, who is of Asian descent. There was also some hair pulling. There is no reason given as to why it all began.
“Shut your mouth, dirty bitch. I cannot tolerate your voice,” Galliano yelled. The woman in question [Bloch], who works at The Institut du Monde Arabe, didn’t leave. “You are so ugly I cannot even look at you,” continued the designer. He added, “You have low-end boots, disgusting thighs. You don’t have hair, your eyebrows are ugly, you’re disgusting, you’re nothing but a bitch.” And he finished his diatribe with, “I am the designer John Galliano.” He told the woman’s companion [Virgiti], “I will kill you.” According to the young, female victim, he [Galliano] pushed the provocation up to the point of almost calling his lawyer and offering to give the couple his telephone. The woman refused. After being alerted, the police arrived in several minutes. After being taken to the station and tested, the aggressor [Galliano] tested positive for the “Alcotest” at 1.01g. He passed by Hotel Dieu [Hospital]’s medical service, and was quickly examined but without a blood test. Shortly after his arrest, he was given his freedom. And the designer’s chauffeur, who waiting patiently at Hotel Dieu, was given permission to take him home.
The woman contends that she had no idea who Galliano was until a nearby diner exclaimed, “C’est une star, c’est John Galliano.” The woman is not Jewish.
NY Times style critic in Europe for the Fall 2011 fashion shows Cathy Horyn quotes a source who says that Galliano was simply trying to chat with the pair, writes NYMag.
The witness said that the man told Galliano, “You’re ugly, you’re disgusting, move away from here,” at which point Galliano reportedly replied to the woman, “You’re ugly, and your bag is ugly, too.” Galliano then allegedly referred to the man as Asian, at which point the man and woman called the police.
New York magazine also writes:
We spoke with a source today who has worked closely with Galliano on several projects and “can’t imagine can’t imagine he would do this to anyone.” He added, “I’m an observant Jew, and I know from my own experiences with him that there’s no way he hates Jewish people. He’s incredibly gentle.”
Not to add fuel to the fire here, and we totally revere the LVMH companies because they are generally enlighted in our view, let’s note that Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of Dior Couture didn’t say they had a policy against sexism.
If after being provoked first, Galliano did say: “You are so ugly I cannot even look at you. You have low-end boots, disgusting thighs. You don’t have hair, your eyebrows are ugly, you’re disgusting, you’re nothing but a bitch”, perhaps female misogyny should be added to Dior’s list of unacceptable offenses.
See yesterday’s essay: