AP Photo/Thibault Camus
AP Photo/Thibault Camus
John Galliano's defense today? I don't remember a thing.
The former Christian Dior designer took the stand in a Paris courtroom to defend himself against allegations he hurled anti-Semitic slurs at a couple enjoying some cocktails at a café near his apartment. He testified that he remembered nothing about the horrid things he supposedly said because he was so deep into a "triple addiction" to alcohol, Valium and sleeping pills that his memory was blank.
He did, however, say sorry for that Hitler video that surfaced not long after his tirade.
So is all forgiven?
Not by a longshot.
Prosecutors asked that Galliano be fined $14,400 in the case. The request is nonbinding, however, and he could face up to six months in prison and a $33,000 fine for "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity."
A three-judge panel heard the daylong trial. But we'll have to wait until September to find out the verdict.
No matter what the justices rule, it was a low day for Galliano.
The 50-year-old fallen fashion guru entered the 17th Chamber of the Paris Correctional Court dressed conservatively (for him, anyway), where he portrayed himself as pill popper and alcohol abuser.
"I have a triple addiction," he told the court. "I'm a recovering alcoholic and a recovering addict. After every creative high, I would crash and the alcohol helped me."
He blamed his addictions on the pressures of his creativity helping "make Dior a billion-dollar business."
Asked why he kept his addictions under wraps while being investigated by the police, the designer said that he was in "complete denial" about his problems. (A sobriety test did show he was drunk at the time.)
Prosecutors also screened the now-infamous 45-second video of him shouting "I love Hitler" for the court.
Galliano claimed that was not his view exactly, but instead the thoughts of "the shell of John Galliano...someone who needs help."
"These are not views that I hold or believe in," Galliano said. "In the video, I see someone who needs help, who's vulnerable. It's the shell of John Galliano. I see someone who's been pushed to the edge. All my life I've fought against prejudice and intolerance and discrimination because I have been subjected to it myself."
Finally, came the actual apology.
"I apologize for the sadness that this affair has caused and I apologize to the court as well," he said.
Geraldine Bloch, one-half of the couple targeted by Galliano back in February, testified that he said the word "Jewish" at least 30 times during their altercation.
"I don't know if he was drunk but he was behaving completely strangely," she told the court.
Another witness said he heard Galliano issue a string of insults, including "shut up" and "you're ugly," but never heard anything anti-Semitic.
Television cameras were not allowed in the courtroom, but there was a media frenzy outside as Galliano entered.
Ironically, the trial went down the same day as high-profile menswear fashion show in Paris.