Last week, John Galliano was suspended as creative director at Dior fashion house.
On a mobile camera in a Paris cafe, an enraged Galliano was seen having a heated conversation with a couple who were Asian and Jewish, according to witnesses. Witnesses told police that Galliano was making anti-Semitic remarks and that it escalated to the point where the Asian man picked up a chair and was threatening to hit Galliano with it. That was when Galliano said an anti-Asian remark, according to witnesses. Since then, a cell phone video of Galliano surfaced. In the video, he was seen making anti-semetic remarks to the persons capturing the video, at one point saying, “I love Hitler, and people like you would be dead today.”
Since then, many have blasted Galliano for his remarks. Paris prosecutors have ordered Gallaino to stand trial over alleged racial insults. His attorney, however, has said that Galliano has been the victim of a “veritable lynching” in the court of public opinion.
Galliano has apologized in a public statement. “Anti-semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologize for my behavior in causing any offense.” But don’t feel too sorry for him, because, referring to the incident with the Asian/Jewish couple, he said the story is untrue. “I completely deny the claims made against me and have fully cooperated with the police investigation.”
Galliano’s attitude is bothersome and offensive, but it’s not the worst part. The worst part is that many people in the fashion world are brushing off the comments and don’t seem to take them very seriously.
Designer Giorgio Armani was asked about his thoughts on the matter, and he said (translated from Italian), “I’m very, very sorry for him. It’s obviously a difficult time for him. I’m also very sorry that they even videotaped him without him knowing, and now that’s all out.”
Stylist Patricia Field, who worked on “Sex and the City,” has insisted that the video is a farce, likening his anti-Semitic remarks to theater.
Fashion has always been accused of being a very Euro-centric business, but as of late, it has seen massive expansion into Asia due to Asia’s economic boom. More and more Asian models and designers are being employed, possibly to appeal to the growing subset of affluent Asians who are buying designer brands.
Even with these strides, high fashion is still relatively behind, in terms of embracing diversity, compared to other businesses. The excuses made for Galliano shows this.
Additionally, some are excusing Galliano for his behavior on the videotape and have said that it’s unfair to judge him because he said the comments when he was very drunk.
Is this what we want to teach our kids? That it’s OK to say horrible things after a few drinks? Surely not. ♦