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House of Dior: Swift Response to Designer's Anti-Semitic Rant

A top fashion designer for the French Christian Dior label is suspended over anti-Semitism and racism; a video shows him saying “I love Hitler.”
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/1/2011, 9:56 AM / Last Update: 3/1/2011, 10:30 AM

John Galliano, one of the world's top fashion designers, has been suspended from his job with the Christian Dior label over alleged anti-Semitic and racist verbal assaults. A video is circulating online in which Galliano tells two women, “I love Hitler.”

The story began with a confrontation between Galliano and a man and woman at the La Perle restaurant in Paris. During the fight he told the woman, “Dirty Jew, you should be dead,” and said to the man, “Asian *******, I'm going to kill you.” The incident led to a police investigation.

The Dior company responded quickly, announcing Galliano's suspension just hours later. “The House of Dior confirms, with the greatest firmness, its policy of zero tolerance for any anti-Semitic or racist comments.”

Galliano's lawyer termed the suspension “totally disproportionate,” claiming that Galliano “never made an anti-Semitic remark in more than 10 years at Dior” and had simply been responding to insults. However, since then more allegations have surfaced, including a video in which Galliano is shown telling two women, “I love Hitler,” adding, “People like you ought to be dead, your mothers, your forefathers would all be ****ing gassed.” The video was shot at the La Perle restaurant by a friend of the women.

A fourth woman has alleged anti-Semitic abuse as well. None of the four women is Jewish, however, it is believed that Galliano thought they were.

Controversy at the Oscars
Galliano's anti-Semitism created controversy at the Oscars, where some actresses wore Dior gowns despite the controversy, while others did not. Israeli-born Jewish-American actress Natalie Portman did not wear Dior, despite having recently signed on as the face of Dior's Miss Dior Cherie perfume.

Portman, who won the coveted “Best Actress” award, did not immediately respond to questions about her choice of gown. However, she later went on record as “deeply shocked and disgusted” by Galliano's remarks.

“In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way,” she continued. “I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.”