Photo Credit: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage
Former Dior fashion designer John Galliano was convicted in Paris of hate crimes on Thursday after making racist and anti-Semitic remarks on a two separate occasions.
Galliano, 50, was found guilty of "public insults," but instead of jail time was hit with a suspended fine of 6,000 euros (or $8,500), which he won't have to pay unless he's convicted of a crime in France over the next five years. In addition to 90 euros in court costs, Galliano was also ordered to pay a symbolic one-euro fine to the plaintiffs in the case.
Galliano was being tried simultaneously for two incidents of anti-Semitic ranting: In February, he was accused of verbally assaulting two patrons at Paris' La Perle cafe and was arrested as a result. Following that arrest, a 40-year-old woman came forward and accused the designer of similarly insulting her at the same bar in October 2010. But Galliano found himself in especially hot water only a couple of weeks after his arrest when a damning video of a completely different incident surfaced, showing the fashion icon confronting other patrons of the same bar -- and shouting "I love Hitler."
Galliano, who had been creative director at the famed Christian Dior fashion house since 1996, found himself persona non grata in many of the star-studded circles in which he had circulated. Dior fired him immediately, and Natalie Portman, who is the face of Dior's fragrance Cherie, released a harsh statement saying she was "shocked and disgusted" by Galliano's remarks.
Hate speech against any origin, religion, race or ethnicity is treated as a very serious issue in France, and Galliano, who is British but has lived in France for 20 years, faced up to six months of jail time and a fine of over $31,000.
As one might expect, then, Galliano is pleased with the case's outcome. The disgraced designer was not present in Paris Criminal Court on Thursday when the verdict was handed down, but his attorney told reporters that the judge had made a "wise decision" and his client was "very relieved."
Since his arrest, Galliano has blamed his actions on his addiction to drugs, has attended rehab and has publicly apologized to the plaintiffs.
The Associated Press quoted the judge as saying that Galliano had "sufficient awareness of his act despite his addiction and his fragile state," but that he also took into account Galliano's apology to the plaintiffs as well as the "values of tolerance" in the designer's work.