John Galliano, the designer fired by Christian Dior SA over a video recording of him saying “I love Hitler,” was found guilty by a French court of hate speech stemming from incidents at a Paris cafe.
Galliano, 50, who said he didn’t remember anti-Semitic and racist attacks on other cafe patrons in two incidents, received suspended fines and was ordered by judges at the Paris court to pay damages of 1 euro ($1.40) each to the three victims he verbally assaulted and 3,000 euros each for their legal fees.
Galliano had “a sufficient knowledge of his actions” despite his addictions to drugs and alcohol, Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud said, reading the decision of the three-judge panel.
The designer was fired by the 65-year-old Paris fashion house a day after the video was released and three days before he was to host Dior’s women’s ready-to-wear show in Paris. Dior, which also owns Galliano’s namesake label, hasn’t replaced him. Sidney Toledano, Dior’s chief executive officer, said at the March show that, while Galliano is “brilliant,” his comments were “intolerable because of our collective duty to never forget the Holocaust and its victims.”
Aurelien Hamelle, Galliano’s lawyer, said it was a “satisfying decision.” The judges suspended the fines because they “understood that this is a sick man.” Galliano will continue his treatment and “hopes with time to be forgiven,” Hamelle said.
Prosecutor Sought Fine
Under French sentencing rules on hate speech Galliano could have received a maximum 22,500-euro fine and six months in prison. Prosecutor Anne de Fontette sought a fine.
“John Galliano recognized the state he was in and sought treatment for himself,” the judges wrote in their decision. “The accused apologized, renewed them at the trial, notably to the victims,” the court said.
Taking all that into account they decided on a less stringent application of criminal law and suspended the fines, the court said.
Five associations that joined in the complaint were each also awarded 750 euros for fees and 1 euro for damages.