John Galliano, the designer fired by Christian Dior SA (CDI) over a video rant saying “I love Hitler,” will stand trial June 22 on charges of verbally abusing three people with anti-Semitic and racist slurs, a Paris court said.
The criminal trial to determine what happened in February and October at a Paris café where the three say the 50-year-old accosted them will last a day, the court said today. Galliano, who didn’t attend the hearing, has said he was provoked.
“The question is to know who said what at what moment,” Galliano lawyer Aurelien Hamelle said before the hearing.
The Gibraltar-born designer’s behavior prompted a swift departure from the 65-year-old Paris fashion house, which also owns Galliano’s namesake label. Galliano was fired less than a week after being arrested when a drunken rant led a couple to call police to a cafe in the fashionable third arrondissement, when a third person came forward to say she’d been insulted by the designer and a video of a slurring Galliano was posted on the website of U.K. tabloid The Sun.
Galliano, who filed defamation claims against the couple in February, added to his legal turmoil last week, after he filed a criminal claim alleging his former lawyer Stephane Zerbib embezzled 2.8 million euros ($4 million) from Galliano’s company, Cheyenne Freedom.
Zerbib denied the charges and filed his own claims of libel and malicious slander against his former client on May 9, Emma Lapijower, Zerbib’s attorney, said yesterday.
Galliano “wants to justify his anti-Semitic remarks” by “falsely claiming now he was robbed” by Zerbib, who is Jewish, said Lapijower. Zerbib, who had advised Galliano for eight years, “was shocked” by the video, Lapijower said. “Their break began then,” she said.
Dior fired Galliano three days before he was to host the fashion house’s women’s ready-to-wear show in Paris. Sidney Toledano, the company’s chief executive officer, appeared instead, saying that while Galliano is “brilliant,” his comments were “intolerable because of our collective duty to never forget the Holocaust and its victims.”
The designer faces a maximum 22,500-euro fine and six months in prison.
Galliano said in a statement issued the day after his firing that he is “seeking help, and all I can hope for in time is to address the personal failure which led to these circumstances and try and earn people’s forgiveness.”
Hamelle said Galliano isn’t currently in France, while declining to give his whereabouts or say what he is doing.
To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at email@example.com.