Dior Fires Designer Galliano Over anti-Semitic Comments

French fashion house fires its creative director after video clip surfaced which showed Galliano praising Hitler, and following complaints to police of other anti-Semitic insults, which are illegal in France.

French fashion house Dior said on Tuesday it is firing John Galliano after complaints were lodged with police that their star designer made offensive and anti-Semitic comments.

Dior said it decided to start procedures to fire Galliano after seeing a video clip that purportedly shows the designer shouting abuse at people in a Paris bar. The firing comes just a few days before Dior's fall-winter 2011-2012 ready-to-wear show on the catwalks of Paris.

galliano - Reuters - February 25 2011

"I very firmly condemn what was said by John Galliano, which totally contradicts the values which have always been defended by Christian Dior," Christian Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano said in a statement.

Christian Dior had suspended Galliano, its creative director, following accusations that he made an anti-Semitic insult during a spat with a couple at a trendy Paris eatery last week, La Perle.

Days after the accusation that Galliano had made an anti-Semitic slur made headlines, a new internet video emerged of Galliano praising Adolf Hitler.

The video posted on the Web site of Britain's The Sun newspaper shows Galliano arguing with a couple at the same cafe in a separate incident, at one point saying "I love Hitler" in a slurred voice. It was unclear when it was filmed.

The designer vigorously denied wrongdoing Friday and said that the response to the alleged incidents has been totally disproportionate.

Galliano faced his accusers at a local Paris police station Monday, the couple who claim he made the anti-Semitic slurs. At the hearing, which was closed to the public, Galliano denied all the accusations against him.

Making anti-Semitic remarks can bring up to six months in prison. Some public figures have been convicted on such charges in the past, but are usually given only suspended sentences. Galliano's lawyer says the designer has filed a countersuit against his accusers for alleged defamation, threats and insults.

Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman condemned Dior's fashion designer John Galliano for his recent anti-Semitic slurs,saying on Monday that she was "deeply shocked."

Portman, who was chosen by Dior last year to be the face of the Miss Dior Cherie fragrance, strongly condemned Galliano saying in a statement, “I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today."

"In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way," Portman's statement continued. "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.”