Galliano complainant doubts he's anti-Semitic

10th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The man whose complaint against John Galliano led to his arrest and firing from Christian Dior said in an interview published on Thursday that he doubts the celebrated fashion designer is anti-Semitic.

Philippe, as he was identified in Le Parisien, said he was unaware at the time that it was the celebrated British couturier who made alleged racist and anti-Jewish remarks at him and a female friend at a Paris cafe.

"We were having a beer when a man who I didn't know and didn't recognise sat down next to us," Philippe told the tabloid newspaper, explaining that it appeared that Galliano had been drinking.

"Right away he started to attack us by saying to my friend: 'Your voice irritates me, you're talking too loud'. Then everything started happening. It went on for 45 minutes... He wanted to humiliate us."

Asked to confirm if anti-Semitic remarks had been uttered, Philippe replied: "Yes, but today, I am convinced that his words overtook his mind. I do not believe he is racist or anti-Semitic."

"Since all this happened, I've learned about his work, that he put diversity at the forefront and mixed cultures in his shows. I believe, above all, that he is very ill and that, for him, it (his conduct) was a provocation."

Philippe said his complaint that led prosecutors to file charges against Galliano still stands. "The judicial machine is rolling, and John Galliano has filed a counter-complaint against us," he explained.

"But this whole story has really traumatised us... There has been since a media uproar around this story. For me, it was a simple dispute at a bar. John Galliano doesn't deserve this. I don't want him destroyed like that."

Galliano, 50, one of the finest designers of his generation, was first suspended, then fired by Dior over the complaint and then a mobile phone video showing him, apparently drunk at the same cafe, saying: "I love Hitler."

Prosecutors meanwhile charged the Gibraltar-born, London-raised couturier with making racist and anti-Semitic remarks, a crime in France punishable by up to six months in prison and a find of 22,500 euros ($31,500).

Through his lawyers, Galliano apologised "unreservedly" for his behaviour, but denied "the claims made against me," as he reportedly checked into a rehab clinic in Arizona pending a court appearance before the end of June.

© 2011 AFP

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