Galliano suspended by Dior after 'anti-semitic' attack

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2011, 19:59 PM IST

London: John Galliano, the flamboyant chief designer at Christian Dior has been suspended by the French fashion house after his arrest in Paris for an alleged drunken racist attack against a Jewish couple.

The 50-year-old was arrested in the French capital`s Marais district, the traditional home of the city`s Jewish community on Thursday, reported a website.

He is believed to have been drinking heavily in a local bar when he launched the alleged attack.

Though Galliano`s lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, "formally denied" that his client had made racist comments, Dior chief executive Sidney Toledano has released a statement saying,
"Dior affirms with the utmost conviction its policy of zero tolerance towards any anti-semitic or racist words or behaviour. Pending the results of the inquiry, Christian Dior
has suspended John Galliano from his responsibilities."

Witnesses called police during the incident, which took place in front of dozens of astonished revellers in a busy covered terrace.

"We managed to break up the disturbance quickly. The man involved was briefly arrested and then released pending charges for assault. Witnesses said he swore heavily, using
anti-Jewish insults, before attacking a couple. Both have provided witness statements, as have a number of other people at the bar, including staff," a police source said.

Galliano, who has been chief designer at Dior since 1996, was the only person arrested in connection with the incident on Thursday night.

The designer, who regularly performs his trademark `rock star` poses at the end of fashion shows, is one of the world`s foremost celebrity designers. Prior to the arrest, he was preparing the Dior autumn collection which will be shown for the first time at Paris Fashion Week, which starts on Monday.

Anti-semitic remarks are punishable by up to six months in prison in France, but Galliano has not yet been charged with an offence.

PTI