Dior Fires Galliano Over Anti-Semitic Rant Caught On Video

March 1, 2011

Bill Chappell

High-fashion label Christian Dior has fired British designer John Galliano, who has been accused of making anti-Semitic and racist comments. The firing comes after actress Natalie Portman, who is the face of a Dior fragrance line, condemned Galliano's comments — some of which were captured on video.

The designer has maintained that he is innocent, and had threatened to sue two of his accusers for defamation after their claims led to his being suspended from Dior last week.

But then video of a separate, but similar, event surfaced Monday.

A statement released by Portman Monday night read, "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. 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."

In the statement released the night after she won an Academy Award, Portman said, "I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments that surfaced today."

Portman was asked about the controversy Sunday night at a post-Oscars news conference. But someone from her management team interrupted before she could respond.

The charges against Galliano stem from comments he made on two separate occasions in the same Paris bar.

From Paris, Eleanor Beardsley filed this Newscast report:

Known for his dramatic shows and flamboyant style, Galliano was suspended by Dior on Friday after a couple complained that he shouted racist and anti-Semitic insults at them at a Paris bar.

He was questioned Monday by French police for more than five hours.

The incident happened just days before Galliano was due to present Dior's new women's ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week, which starts today.

Now another woman has filed a new complaint against Galliano, for the same abusive insults in the same Paris bar last October.

Video of Galliano speaking in a cafe in the Marais section of Paris has been posted on the site of Britain's The Sun newspaper.

In it, Galliano slurs his words as he uses foul language and tells a woman, "I love Hitler. People like you would be dead today," he tells women at a neighboring table. "Your mothers, your forefathers, would be... gassed and... dead."

That quote omits a couple of profane gerunds. Soon afterwards, the women then ask Galliano where he's from. The episode was apparently filmed in October.

In France, it is illegal to make anti-Semitic comments — if found guilty, the punishment is up to six months in prison.

According to The Sun, none of the French and Italian people who were allegedly harangued by Galliano are Jewish. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.