John Galliano, the British fashion designer whose pro-Hitler outburst in a Paris cafe wrecked his prosperous career, is due in court on Wednesday to face charges of anti-Semitism, reports Reuters. John Galliano will attend the high-profile trial in person and has been warned he could face a six-month prison sentence.
The 50-year-old was fired as creative director of Dior in March after a video emerged showing him allegedly telling a woman he "loved Hitler" and that her parents might have been gassed in a Nazi death camp. The clip, which surfaced online, sent shockwaves through the fashion world and Galliano was heavily criticised by numerous high-profile figures. If found guilty, the designer faces a fine of up to $31,500 and a six-month prison sentence. Galliano's lawyer Aurelien Hamelle says his client will testify he is neither a racist nor an anti-Semite but merely an addict who lost control of his words, adding, "One obvious thing is that John Galliano was ill. He had a triple addiction to alcohol, benzodiazepine (Valium) and sleeping pills ... The combined effect of these drugs is a state of complete and utter abandon".
The prosecution is likely to present John Galliano as a bigoted man whose hatreds "rose to the surface" when he was drunk. Museum curator Geraldine Block is suing the acclaimed designer over what her lawyer described as "a 45-minute, drink fuelled tirade of anti-Semitic, racist and personal abuse".