Tuesday, May 3, 2011
John Galliano sacks his lawyer weeks before he stands trial over his 'anti-Semitic tirade'
From Kate Moss to Carla Bruni John Galliano was once in demand on the fashion circuit but things couldn't be worse for the British designer.
As he prepares to stand trial for supposedly firing anti-Semitic remarks at fellow drinkers in a Paris bar Mr Galliano has fired his Jewish lawyer Stephane Zerbib.
The 50-year-old who lost his title as chief designer of Christian Dior earlier this year after it emerged that he had subjected people to racist rants.
Galliano, who has been named British designer of the year four times, was arrested at the end of February in the Marais district of Paris after he allegedly insulted a Jewish woman and her Asian boyfriend in the La Perle bar.
Two days later another woman came forward claiming that the fashion star had hurled abuse at her at the same location last October.
Galliano could face up to six months in prison and a 20,000 pounds fine for his alleged remarks. Now Mr Zerbib, a well-known celebrity lawyer has been sacked by the designer.
Mr Zerbib, who regularly takes up Jewish causes has been representing the designer ever since his initial arrest in February.
A video reportedly shot in the Parisian bar in December, fuelled criticism as it apparently showed Galliano telling two Italian women: ‘People like you ought to be dead, your mothers, your forefathers would all be f*****g gassed. I love Hitler.
He is also said to have called Geraldine Bloch, 35, a ‘dirty Jew’ as well as insulting her ‘ugly eyebrows’ and ‘appalling fashion taste.’
Galliano, who was born in Gibraltar and then brought up in south London, is then said to have called Ms Bloch’s boyfriend, Philippe Virgitti, 41, an ‘Asian bastard.
At the time, chief executive of Christian Dior, Sidney Toledano said: ‘I very firmly condemn what was said by John Galliano, which totally contradicts the values which have always been defended by Christian Dior.
‘Because of the particularly odious nature of John Galliano’s behaviour and views, in a video made public on Monday, Christian Dior has decided to lay him off at once and has commenced formal dismissal procedures.
Galliano is currently on bail following charges for making ‘public insults based on the origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity’ with a trial date to be set early next week.
He since launched a counter-claim in a civil court in Paris for defamation against Miss Bloch and Mr Virgitti and denied that he is a racist, saying that many of his friends and professional associates, including Mr Zerbib, are Jewish.
Galliano previously produced six couture and ready-to-wear collections a year and appeared on the Independent newspaper’s Pink List for being one of the most influential gay people in Britain.
Israel-born actress Natalie Portman, who is the face of a Dior perfume also denounced Galliano at the time of the incident.
The 29-year-old Oscar winner said in a statement: 'As an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr Galliano in any way.
‘I hope at the very least these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.’