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John Galliano blames addictions, fashion as his anti-Semitism case comes to trial

June 22, 2011 |  4:31 pm


John Galliano doesn't remember hurling racist insults in a Paris bar in February. But he blamed whatever may have happened then and in another similar incident on drug and alcohol addictions and the stress of working in the fast-paced fashion industry.

This sums up his testimony in a court hearing Wednesday, where the former Christian Dior creative director faced charges of making anti-Semitic and racist comments in violation of French law during the altercation in February and another similar incident. (A viral video of him making anti-Semitic comments in a third incident and praising Hitler was shown during the hearing, but the women involved in that incident didn't press charges.) A three-member judicial panel heard testimony from Galliano and witnesses, but isn't expected to rule until September. 

According to, "I have a triple addiction," Galliano told the court. "I'm a recovering alcoholic and a recovering addict. After every creative high, I would crash and the alcohol helped me."

Galliano said he was pushed to the edge by a "billion dollar business" and "moneymaking machine" that Dior and his own Galliano brand had become.

"I would crash after every creative high, and the alcohol would help me to escape." His relief came in a triple cocktail of "sleeping pills, alcohol and Valium", but, he insisted, no illegal drugs, according to a report on the hearing in the Telegraph.

In Galliano's defense, two witnesses to one incident and a witness to the second said they had not heard any objectionable comments from him.

One said she was "shocked" that the designer had lost his job.

"This type of row happens all the time in Paris but the only reason it has gone this far is that it concerns John Galliano," she said.

-- Susan Denley


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Photo: Courtroom sketch of former Dior designer John Galliano taking the stand. Credit: Dominique Lemarie / Associated Press