This morning, French fashion house Dior announced it has started proceedings to officially fire its creative director, John Galliano.
Dior had suspended Galliano last Friday after a couple accused the designer of racist slurs. It is illegal to make anti-Semitic comments in France, and offenders can be punished with up to six months of jail time.
Sidney Toledano, president and chief executive officer of Dior, released a short statement Tuesday, saying, “I condemn most firmly the statements made by John Galliano which are total contradiction with the essential values that have always been defended by the House of Christian Dior.”
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Galliano filed a countersuit for defamation against the couple who initially accused him of anti-Semitic remarks on Saturday. He was reportedly questioned with the couple by Paris police yesterday. Another woman has since come forward with similar charges against the designer in light of the initial lawsuit.
On Monday, British tabloid The Sun posted a video on its website of the designer making disparaging comments. “I love Hitler,” the video shows Galliano saying to restaurant guests in the video. “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f****** gassed.” It’s unclear when the scene was filmed, and some members within the fashion industry have questioned the motives behind the video’s release. “I’m … disgusted by these people who saw what state John was in and took advantage of the situation by trading on his name and notoriety,” wrote Franca Sozzani, the editor of Italian edition of Vogue, on the magazine’s website. “It’s obvious that this was a bit inauthentic in the sense that if you are truly fighting with someone, you don’t have time to pick up a mobile phone, turn on the video GIGGLING and mockingly film what he is saying.”
But celebrities like Natalie Portman, who recently signed on to become the spokesperson of Miss Dior Cherie perfume, have been less understanding. The Oscar-winning actress said she was “shocked and disgusted” by Galliano’s comments. “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 said in a statement. Portman was widely expected to wear Dior to Sunday night’s Academy Awards. Instead, she chose a dress by Rodarte, the same designers who created her Black Swan costumes.
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Galliano has been Dior’s creative director since 1996. The fashion house is slated to present its Fall/Winter 2011 collection Friday during Paris Fashion Week.