Dior fires "odious" Galliano over racist slurs

Tue Mar 1, 2011 5:31pm EST
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - French fashion house Christian Dior fired its star designer John Galliano on Tuesday after an online video clip spread around the world showing him hurling anti-Semitic abuse at people in a Paris bar.

Chief Executive Sidney Toledano said the "odious nature" of Galliano's behavior on the video led Dior to relieve him of his duties after 15 years as the label's chief designer and just three days before Dior's catwalk show at Paris Fashion Week.

"I very firmly condemn what was said by John Galliano, which totally contradicts the values which have always been defended by Christian Dior," Toledano said in a statement.

The sequence of events surrounding Galliano's departure included an almost Dior-free Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday and prompted Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman -- who has a deal to promote Dior perfume -- to voice her disgust with the British designer.

Paris were called to a bar in Paris's hip Marais district where they found an inebriated Galliano delivering a torrent of abuse to a couple. The couple complained that Galliano had hurled racist and anti-Semitic comments at them, an offence under French law.

A person close to Galliano, who spoke to him by telephone on Tuesday, said he had been struggling to cope for some time with the pressures of his life under the spotlight.

"He knows he's a dead man. It is horribly violent and tragic. I am very pessimistic about his future," she said.


<p>Fashion designer John Galliano is surrounded by policemen as he leaves a police station in Paris, February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen</p>