John Galliano blames outburst on alcohol addiction
Published Wednesday, June 22, 2011 7:09PM EDT
At his trial on Wednesday, former Dior designer John Galliano blamed his addiction to alcohol and drugs for using what were allegedly anti-Semitic insults during an outburst in Paris, an incident he said he doesn't remember.
Galliano is charged with spouting anti-Semitic slurs towards a couple at a Paris café in February 2011, which shocked the fashion world and cost Galliano his job at the French high-fashion house.
At the one-day trial in Paris, Galliano told the court he doesn't remember the incident because of his addiction to alcohol, barbiturates and sleeping pills.
"I have a triple addiction. I'm a recovering alcoholic and a recovering addict," he told the court.
He is charged with "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" and could face up to six months in prison and more than US$30,000 in fines.
He said he didn't tell police about his addictions at the time because he was in denial.
"After every creative high, I would crash and the alcohol helped me," he said, adding that his creativity "helped make Dior a billion-dollar business."
Galliano, who worked for Dior for 14 years, also blamed an increasing workload and not having the time to mourn the deaths of both his close friend and father for his addictions.
Galliano issued a statement at the time saying: "Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologize for my behaviour in causing any offence."
Galliano was taken in for police questioning after the incident at the café and a sobriety test found he was drunk at the time. After his police detention in February, he spent two months in rehabilitative treatment in Arizona and later in Switzerland.
Days after the February incident, a video was broadcast on the British tabloid The Sun's website showing Galliano drunkenly slur "I love Hitler" to another café patron.
Another woman came forward with similar claims about another incident in the same Paris café in October. Wednesday's trial also addressed that accusation.
Galliano's lawyer, Aurelien Hamelle, told The Associated Press that he would be calling witnesses who were at the café during both incidents who say they didn't hear any insults from Galliano.
French law prohibits public insults toward others because of their origins, race or religion. A verdict is expected at a later date.
With files from The Associated Press