>> After rumors that John Galliano's lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, had quit, a spokesperson for Galliano has released a statement today confirming that Zerbib had been fired: "Mr. Zerbib was dismissed as Galliano's lawyer some weeks ago following the discovery of apparent irregularities in respect of his firm's administration of Galliano's financial affairs over a number of years." The designer's pre-trial hearings are set to begin next week, with a date for his impending trial expected to be announced May 12. [Vogue UK]
John Galliano's Trial Date to Be Decided May 12; One of His Accusers Says He Doesn't Believe Galliano Is Racist or Anti-Semitic
>> John Galliano is going to trial in Paris — and the date is expected to be determined on May 12. One of his three accusers, Philippe Virgiti, meanwhile, seems to be having second thoughts about his allegations — following his mandated meeting on Feb. 28 with Galliano at a Paris police station, he reportedly decided to drop his complaint against the designer . . . before reinstating it again the next morning.
Then, last Thursday, Virgiti gave an interview to Le Parisien, confirming that Galliano did make anti-Semitic comments, but stipulating: "I'm not convinced now that he really meant them. I don't think he is racist or anti-Semitic. I just think he's very ill."
Virgiti continued: “Today, I am convinced that he didn’t really believe what he was saying. Since this all happened, I have enquired about his work and saw that he is somebody who promoted difference and who mixed cultures in his fashion shows. I believe, above all, that he is very sick and was just out to provoke.”
Furthermore: "For me it was a simple bar dispute. We were having a beer when he sat beside us. He got aggressive, turned to my friend [and fellow accuser] and said, 'Your voice is annoying me, you're speaking too loudly.' John Galliano does not deserve this. I do not want him to be destroyed like that. I would like Mr. Galliano to benefit from this unhappy story by drinking a little less and getting back to making the dresses and shows that he did so well."
Virgiti added that he has no choice but to stand by his complaint now that the "legal machine" is in motion.
Galliano's lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, said today that Virgiti's comments signaled a "positive" development for Galliano, but declined to comment on whether the designer still plans to pursue his claim of defamation against Virgiti and Geraldine Bloch.
Paris Prosecutor May Announce Next Step in John Galliano's Case Today; His Eponymous Label To Show As Usual
>> Yesterday, John Galliano spent more than five hours at a Paris police station, where he met face to face with the couple who accused him of verbally attacking them last Thursday evening. Upon arrival, Galliano, who wore a large-brimmed black hat over his trademark bandanna, was mobbed by cameramen and photographers — see video here. His lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, says that Galliano is "in great shape" and "firmly and formally" denies making racist or anti-Semitic remarks in the case of both complaints filed against him. Zerbib added that despite yesterday's video release, Galliano "never made an anti-Semitic remark in more than ten years at Dior."
The hearing was closed to the public, but a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity says: "[Galliano] denied all the accusations against him." Galliano's chauffeur and an employee of La Perle, where the alleged insults took place last Thursday, both testified that they didn't hear any anti-Semitic or racist remarks. The filer of the second complaint against Galliano, a 47-year-old woman who claimed she was insulted in a similar fashion four months ago, also spoke at the hearing. Zerbib was dismissive of her: "We're surprised by this new complaint which exactly resembles the first ones. It's not by chance. It's surprising that this person had not shown herself since October."
Making anti-Semitic remarks is illegal in France and can bring up to six months in prison; yesterday's hearing was held in part to determine whether the state will press charges against Galliano. The Paris prosecutor's office is expected to decide what the next step might be — possibly today. According to a person close to the matter, Dior is waiting for the police investigation to conclude before it makes any definitive decision about Galliano's future at the brand. It is, however, trying to verify the authenticity of yesterday's video, and if authenticated, the maison will have "little option" but to dismiss Galliano.
A spokesperson for Galliano's eponymous label, meanwhile, said this morning that the show will go on this Sunday during Paris Fashion Week. He was not able to confirm whether Galliano would be present, but maintained that the team was organizing the show as normal.
A Second Complaint Filed Against John Galliano; Plus, A Video in Which He Declares "I Love Hitler" Surfaces
>> John Galliano is currently at a Paris police station, meeting with his accuser to get things sorted out, but a second complaint against the designer — this one, too, alleging anti-Semitic remarks — was filed Saturday with Paris police. An unnamed woman claimed that she was the victim of a verbal attack at the same Paris cafe — La Perle — where the original incident allegedly occurred. The new complaint is also expected to be addressed at today's meeting.
Meanwhile, The Sun posted a video (above) — reportedly also at La Perle — of an apparently intoxicated Galliano speaking to two women, neither of which are said to be Jewish, after one asked the designer, "Are you blond, with blue eyes?" He replies: "No, but I love Hitler, and people like you would be dead today. Your mothers, your forefathers, would be f*cking gassed and f*cking dead."
Galliano's lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, told the AP he didn't know when the video was filmed, and "there's no comment on that . . . What matters isn't what's on the Internet, what matters are the testimonies and the hearings. What's on the Internet doesn't have much value."
When contacted about the video, a Dior spokesperson replied this morning: "As announced in Sidney Toledano's statement on Friday, John Galliano is suspended pending the results of the police investigation. We did the right thing corporately, which is to allow the police to investigate any new evidence that emerges. It's out of the company's hands — and with the police — and Galliano will be suspended until it is resolved. I know there have been rumors about a possible announcement today, but it's not something I can confirm."
Last night at the Oscars, Nicole Kidman, who wore Dior couture, explained of her choice: “It was the first one I put on and I liked it. I’m pretty simple like that.” She didn't answer questions about the Galliano controversy. And apparently Dior face Natalie Portman, who went with a Rodarte dress last night (although her fiance sported Dior Homme), was asked in the Oscars press room about her reaction to the John Galliano scandal, but the moderator said she wouldn't be answering.
John Galliano Files Defamation Suit Against Accusers, Ordered To Meet with One Accuser Monday Afternoon
>> After an altercation Thursday night that caused Dior to suspend John Galliano, the designer visited Paris police on Friday at midnight to provide three witness statements that he never made any racist or anti-Semitic slurs, as alleged. His lawyer Stephane Zerbib also confirmed that Galliano filed a claim of defamation and injury against the couple, Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgiti, who accused him of making such statements.
According to police reports, Galliano allegedly yelled: "Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead!" to Bloch (who is not Jewish), and "F*cking Asian bastard, I will kill you!" to Virgiti, who is of Asian descent.
Galliano is "shocked" at Dior's decision to suspend him, according to Zerbib: “He is not guilty and is not embroiled in a court case or anything. He feels it is a decision that has been made without verification of the facts and based on one side of the story and he is very shocked about that."
Apparently Galliano's chauffeur, who was at the cafe during the incident, is a key witness and has confirmed to police that the designer's account of the events is true. A source who has worked with Galliano on several projects told The Cut he "can't imagine [Galliano] would do this to anyone. I'm an observant Jew, and I know from my own experiences with him that there's no way he hates Jewish people. He's incredibly gentle."
Today, the Paris public prosecutor's office ordered Galliano and Bloch to meet Monday afternoon at the police station in Paris' third arrondissement. "They have to find out the truth," said Zerbib. "If the public prosecutor’s office decides it is an emergency case, things could go very quickly."