Oscar winner Portman condemns Dior designer Galliano

Tue Mar 1, 2011 7:02am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, who promotes perfume for the fashion label Dior, has condemned its British designer John Galliano over a widely distributed video that purportedly shows him making an anti-Semitic tirade.

Portman, who won an Academy Award on Sunday for Best Actress and is Jewish, said she would not be associated with Galliano, in a statement carried by the New York Times.

"I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments that surfaced today," Portman said. The paper said the statement had been released late on Monday in Los Angeles.

"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."

It was not clear how Portman's contract with Dior might be affected.

Galliano, one of the world's top designers and known for his dramatic shows and flamboyant style, was suspended by Dior on Friday, hours after a couple complained that he had shouted racist and anti-Semitic insults at them while out drinking in Paris's hip Marais district.

His lawyer Stephane Zerbib said Galliano, who lives in Paris, denied making racist or anti-Semitic comments.

But speculation about his future intensified after a woman lodged a new complaint on Saturday about a similar incident in October and a video surfaced on newspaper sites around the world, including that of the British newspaper the Sun.

It was not clear whether this incident was the one depicted in the video.   Continued...

<p>Natalie Portman of '"Black Swan" poses for photographs during arrivals at the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 26, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>