The French fashion house Dior has fired its flamboyant creative director John Galliano after an amateur video surfaced showing him declaring his love for Hitler and hurling anti-Semitic abuse at a couple in a Paris bar.
Accusations of anti-Semitism have brought Galliano down
Dior fired its creative director John Galliano on Tuesday, citing the "odious nature" of a video showing him abusing a couple at a Paris bar with anti-Semitic threats.
"I love Hitler," Galliano says in the video, which first surfaced on the website of the British tabloid The Sun. "People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be gassed."
The British couturier is visibly drunk in the video.
The French fashion house first suspended him last week after he was arrested and questioned by police over allegations of a similar anti-Semitic tirade aimed at another couple at the same bar. Another complaint of verbal abuse has since surfaced.
Galliano has denied the allegations.
The end an era at Dior
The Galliano sacking has overshadowed the start of French Fashion Week and it remains unclear if Dior's catwalk show, scheduled for Friday, will still take place.
With the scandal brewing over the weekend, the red carpet at Sunday's Academy Awards put the spotlight on Dior. Natalie Portman, who won the best actress award and has an endorsement contract with Dior for its Miss Dior Cherie perfume, said she was "disgusted" by the Galliano's behavior.
"In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way," she said in a statement. "I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful."
Galliano is known for his inventive catwalk shows
The firing of Galliano brings an end to one of the longest-running and most successful partnerships in fashion. The Gibraltar-born, British designer joined Dior as creative director in 1996. During his time there, Dior's sales of perfumes, bags and cosmetics soared. While other design houses' currency faded, Galliano gave Dior a fresh edge with his legendary inventiveness. He has been named British designer of the year four times.
The French media quote unnamed sources as saying that recent years, however, have been marked by heavy drinking and pessimism.
Author: Holly Fox (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner