22 Jun 2011

Galliano in the dock over ‘anti-Semitic’ bar rant

Fashion designer John Galliano tells a French court he is a recovering drink and drug addict and has no recollection of aiming a racist rant at fellow drinkers in a Paris bar.

British fashion designer John Galliano has admitted being addicted to alcohol, valium and sleeping pills after going on trial for hurling anti-Semitic abuse at fellow patrons in a Paris bar.

The 50-year-old is alleged to have called Geraldine Bloch a “dirty Jew” in a 45-minute tirade while sitting on the next table at La Perle on 24 February 24 this year.

He is also said to have called her boyfriend an “Asian b*******”.

In a video obtained by The Sun, an apparently drunk Galliano told another couple “I love Hitler” while in the same bar near his home in the fashionable Marais district in October last year.

He went on to tell them: “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f***ing gassed.”

John Galliano

The incidents have already led to the designer’s dismissal from his post as creative director of Christian Dior, and if he is found guilty of racist abuse he faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of up to 22,000 euros (£20,000).

Read more: Style trial for Dior's John Galliano

Galliano, who left France shortly after the incident to seek treatment for substance abuse in the US, has apologised for his behaviour, but insisted it was not anti-Jewish.

On Wednesday, he claimed he had no recollection of the 24 February and admitted being addicted to alcohol and drugs.

He told the court: “I have an addiction. I am a recovering alcoholic, a recovering addict.”

Galliano, who is openly gay, went on: “All my life I have fought against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, having been subjected to it myself.”

Miss Bloch’s lawyer Yves Beddouk said before the trial that she had no idea who Galliano was at the time of the incident.

She is seeking symbolic damages of one euro and publication of the court’s decision in the fashion magazines, Elle and Vogue, and French newspaper Le Figaro.