Should everyone be given a second chance? It has been a week for heart-spilling with Lance Armstrong’s admission of drug taking on Oprah, but will he ever work in sport again? It is unlikely. Cheaters that get caught are never really forgiven. Well how about racists? Will Mel Gibson ever be exonerated for his anti-Semitic rant at a California police officer? Again he hasn’t really ever worked in Hollywood since the incident.
Now the British fashion designer John Gallino, 52 is being given just this chance, and by none other than Anna Wintour the English-born editor-in-chief of American Vogue. Anna known for her ridiculous blonde bob and dark sunglasses has brokered a deal with the highly respected (although a little past their sell by date) American fashion house of Oscar de la Renta.
John Galliano was found guilty of charges of ‘Public Racism’ and was stripped of the top French award, the Legion d’Honneur in 2012.
He was charged after verbally abusing curator, Geraldine Bloch, 35, and her Asian companion, 41-yr-old Philippe Virgitti. He called Ms Bloch a “dirty whore”and “dirty Jewish face” several times. The incident that led to his arrest originated from this outburst and were the center for the investigation and charges and fines imposed. Bloch is also personally suing Mr Galliano over this outburst of anti-Semitic abuse, that lasted 45 minutes. He was charged with “public insults based on race or ethnicity”. 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”. The designer, was fired by the Dior fashion house following the allegations. Galliano said he had no recollection of the events and denied being racist.
At the same time he was also accused of verbally attacking a 47-yr-old English language teacher, Fatiha Oummedour and subjecting her to a series of expletive-laced racist and anti-Jewish remarks. A third incident in the Café La Perle bar near Galliano’s home,resulted in the designer being filmed on a mobile phone slurring the words “I love Hitler”. The video shows him telling two Italian women, that he believed to be Jewish that their mothers and forefathers should have been gassed. Neither of the women pressed charges But the video was a YouTube sensation and later used by the prosecution as evidence against the designer. The designer has apologised for the “sadness” of his behaviour and subsequently checked into rehab for his addictions. He has highlighted his personal struggle with drugs and claimed to the court that he had been out of control for some time. This did not have much influence on the judges decision.He was given suspended fines totalling 6,000 euros (£4,800; $7,500) over the incident.
The fashion house Dior sacked Galliano in March 2011, stating a zero-tolerance policy on racism. Galliano credited with revitalising the Dior brand, had been its creative director since 1996. He had also since been fired from his own eponymous label ‘John Galliano’, which is majority-owned by Dior. Galliano had been chief designer at Dior for 15 years and has won numerous British Fashion Designer of the Year award including the top award on four occasions. Whether this invitation to help out at de la Renta will revive his career or rehabilitate his alcoholism is questionable. It will be very difficult to make a return in an industry that is unforgiving and for the most part racism remains one of the few unacceptable taboos in a designers character.