Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Galliano denies anti-Semitic claim

Fashion designer John Galliano arrives at a police station in Paris amid accusations of anti-Semitic behaviour (AP)

John Galliano has faced a couple who claim he made anti-Semitic slurs, illegal in France, at a Paris police station, after a video emerged of the fashion designer praising Adolf Hitler.

The hearing was closed to the public, but a police officer said: "He denied all the accusations against him."

Also testifying were Galliano's chauffeur and an employee of The Perle, the trendy cafe in Paris where the insults were allegedly made, the official said. Both reported they did not hear any anti-Semitic or racist remarks.

Christian Dior has suspended Galliano, its creative director, pending an investigation, citing its "zero-tolerance" policy on anti-Semitism. The fashion house is scheduled to present its autumn-winter 2011-2012 ready-to-wear show on Friday as part of Paris fashion week.

The Paris prosecutor's office was expected to decide what action to take. French officials said a hospital test showed Galliano had 1.1 milligrams of alcohol per litre of blood, more than twice the legal limit to drive in France.

The long-haired Gibraltar-born designer, wearing a wide-brimmed black hat and earring, made no comment to reporters as he entered and left the police station.

During Monday's hearing, a 47-year-old woman also testified. She had filed a complaint against Galliano on Saturday claiming that she was insulted in a similar fashion by the designer at The Perle about four months ago, according to a police official.

Galliano's lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, was dismissive of this accuser. "We're surprised by this new complaint which exactly resembles the first ones. It's not by chance," Zerbib said. "It's surprising that this person had not shown herself since October."

On Monday, a video posted on the website The Sun newspaper showed Galliano arguing with a couple at La Perle. It was unclear when the video was recorded, but in it, he was dressed differently than on Thursday. At one point in the video, starting in mid-conversation, a woman's voice asks Galliano, "Are you blond, with blue eyes?"

A slurred Galliano replies: "No, but I love Hitler, and people like you would be dead today. Your mothers, your forefathers, would be ... gassed and ... dead."

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