British designer John Galliano went on trial Wednesday in Paris for alleged anti-Semitic remarks made in February and October.
Officially charged with “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity”, the high fashion designer attended the one-day trial dressed modestly (for him), wearing black leather pants and a polka-dot necktie. Though Galliano’s slurs (and the subsequent backlash, including the loss of his job at Dior) have been widely reported, the designer said in court that he had no memory of the vitriol, due to “a triple addiction” to “Alcohol, sleeping pills and Valium.”
(PHOTOS: The Designs of Galliano)
After the accusations were made in February a video of Galliano was released showing the designer proclaiming his love for Hitler, which was passed widely around the Internet. That video was also used in court.
Under French law, public hate speech about a person’s race or religion is illegal, and if the anti-Semitic remarks that were reportedly hurled at different people in cafes — a women in October and a couple in February, all strangers to the designer — are deemed to have been heard by other patrons, Galliano could face up to six months in prison and more than $32,000 in fines.
Galliano’s lawyer, Aurelien Hamelle, has raised the suggestion that the designer’s addiction was the real culprit of the offensive remarks. “Some things may have come out of his mouth that didn’t come from his brain,” he said.
PHOTOS: Paris Fashion