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Galliano Apologizes for Drunken Behavior, Denies Allegations

Galliano Apologizes for Drunken Behavior, Denies Allegations
British designer John Galliano acknowledges the public after the Christian Dior Spring-Summer 2011 Haute Couture Collection Show in Paris. Photographer: Francois Guillot AFP/Getty Images

March 2 (Bloomberg) -- John Galliano, the designer who is being fired by Christian Dior SA, apologized for his behavior after a couple alleged he made anti-semitic and racist comments to them at a cafe in Paris and denied harboring such views.

“I only have myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures,” Galliano said today in a statement from his law firm Harbottle & Lewis. “To start this process I am 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.”

Galliano, 50, was drunk and insulted the couple at a cafe in the fashionable third arrondissement on Feb. 24, according to a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office. The designer denies the charges and has filed a defamation complaint, saying he was attacked first.

Galliano will face trial in the second quarter for allegedly publicly insulting three individuals on racial and religious grounds, the prosecutors’ office said today in a statement. The designer risks a 22,500-euro ($31,203) fine and six months in prison, according to the statement. Jo Milloy, a London-based spokeswoman for the designer declined to comment.

‘Independent Witnesses’

“A number of independent witnesses have given evidence and have told the police that I was subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair, having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing,” Galliano, who has been known to dress as a pirate, said in the statement.

Dior said yesterday it will fire Galliano after a video of the designer saying “I love Hitler” in a separate incident at the same cafe in Paris was posted on the website of The Sun, a U.K. tabloid.

While Gibraltar-born Galliano made no reference to the video in the statement, he said “anti-semitism and racism have no part in our society.”

“I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, having been subjected to it myself,” he said. “In all my work my inspiration has been to unite people of every race, creed, religion and sexuality by celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity through fashion. That remains my guiding light.”

Dior’s fall-winter women’s ready-to-wear show will go ahead as planned on Friday, according to the company. Galliano will not attend the event.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Roberts in Paris at aroberts36@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.

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