23 Jun 2011

Galliano blames behaviour on addictions

7:24 am on 23 June 2011

British fashion designer John Galliano has told a Paris court that his drug and alcohol addictions were to blame for his alleged anti-Semitic outbursts.

Prosecutors say Mr Galliano hurled racial slurs at customers in a Paris cafe on several occasions. He is charged with "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity".

The designer, who was fired by the Dior fashion house over the allegations, said he had no recollection of the events and denied being racist, the BBC reports.

If convicted, he faces six months in jail and a €22,500 fine.

The trial focuses on two alleged incidents in October 2010 and February.

Geraldine Bloch, a museum curator, is suing Mr Galliano over what she said was a tirade of anti-Semitic abuse that lasted 45 minutes.

She told the court he had mocked her appearance and clothing during the February incident, and that the word "Jewish" was "one of the most recurrent".

Video of a third incident - in which he was shown saying to two women in a cafe, "I love Hitler", and telling them that their parents could have been gassed by the Nazis - was used as evidence in court.

But after watching the footage in court, Mr Galliano denied he was racist or anti-Semitic.

"All my life I have fought against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, having been subjected to it myself. I do not have these views and I have never held them."

Mr Galliano told the court on Wednesday that he is addicted to alcohol, sleeping tablets and Valium and was "a recovering alcoholic, a recovering addict".

He said he began using alcohol and drugs in 2007 following the death of a close friend, and that their use had helped him to cope with the pressures of his job as creative director at the French fashion house.

Lawyer Aurelien Hamelle told the court his client had no recollection of the events and had acted in a manner that was not his normal demeanour because he was ill - something he said could be proved by medical testimony.