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Fashion designer detained following cafe altercation

Dior's chief designer John Galliano was detained in Paris, following an altercation in a fashionable cafe. He allegedly insulted the couple next to him with anti-Semitic remarks, but his lawyer tells a different story.

Galliano designs modeled on the catwalk

Galliano has been at the creative helm of Dior for 14 years

French police took fashion designer John Galliano into custody in Paris on Thursday, after he allegedly assaulted a couple and made anti-Semitic remarks.

Dior's chief designer allegedly verbally accosted a couple at Le Perle cafe in Paris' trendy Marais district. It was unclear what prompted the altercation between the designer and the couple seated next to him, which occurred around 9 pm local time, according to a police source.

The couple, a man and a woman, told France's Europe 1 radio that Galliano allegedly made derogatory remarks about Jews and Asians to them.

The police who detained him said a test showed he had been drinking alcohol.

'Not a racist'

Galliano's lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, gave a different account of the evening's events.

"There was an altercation, Mr. Galliano was verbally attacked, but at no point did he make any such insults, and we have witness testimony that backs this up," Zerbib told the Agence France Presse news agency.

The fashion house Dior suspended the British designer on Friday, pending the outcome of a police inquiry.

"Dior affirms with the utmost conviction its policy of zero tolerance towards any anti-Semitic or racist words or behavior," Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano said in a statement.

Author: Sarah Harman (AFP, Reuters, AP)
Editor: Nicole Goebel

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