John Galliano Booted from Dior After Alleged Assault, Anti-Semitic Remarks

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British designer John Galliano

FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

British fashion designer John Galliano was arrested for allegedly assaulting and making anti-Semitic remarks to a couple in a cafe in Paris on Thursday. Now he’s no longer Dior’s darling. But Galliano is fighting back with a defamation lawsuit.

(UPDATED: Feb. 26, 2011) Galliano, who had been creative director of Dior since 1996, was drinking at a bar in the Marais district before the altercation, in which he allegedly verbally abused the pair. The scrap happened late on Thursday night, and ended with the designer being arrested by French police.

(More on TIME.com: See photos from New York Fashion Week)

After arriving at the police station Mr Galliano, 50, was found to be over the legal limit for alcohol. A police source told Reuters that the outburst was prompted by stress ahead of Paris fashion week, during which Dior’s show is always closely observed. Perhaps as a result of these “mitigating circumstances,” police escorted Galliano home without filing any charges; his release was recommended by the state prosecutor.

Following the news, the CEO of Dior, Sidney Toledano, said Galliano had been removed from his position as chief designer of the French fashion house. “Dior affirms with the utmost conviction its policy of zero tolerance towards any anti-Semitic or racist words or behavior. Pending the results of the inquiry Christian Dior has suspended John Galliano from his responsibilities.”

Late Friday night, Galliano responded by filing a defamation lawsuit against “those making such accusations.” His lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, told the AFP: “There was an altercation, Mr. Galliano was verbally attacked, but at no point did he make any such insults, and we have witness testimony that backs this up.”

(More on TIME.com: See photos of another designer’s (more graceful) departure: Valentino)

The eccentric designer has lived in Paris for the past 20 years and is a regular in the Marais district, the historic center of the city’s Jewish community, which is now a popular spot in the fashion world.

(Via The Guardian)

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