Christian Dior’s former creative director John Galliano could face up to six months in prison and $31,000 in fines if convicted of making anti-Semitic remarks, French prosecutors announced on Wednesday. Galliano is facing allegations of "public insults based on the origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" of three people, said prosecutors.
Galliano also issued a statement through his lawyers on Wednesday — he apologized for his actions and maintained he was not anti-Semitic. Below are excerpts from his full statement:
"I completely deny the claims made against me and have fully co-operated with the police investigation.
"A number of independent witnesses have given evidence and have told the police that I was subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing. For these reasons I have commenced proceedings for defamation and the threats made against me.
"However, I fully accept that the accusations made against me have greatly shocked and upset people.
"I only have myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures and that I must work hard to gain people’s understanding and compassion. To start this process I am seeking help and all I can hope for in time is to address the personal failure which led to these circumstances and try and earn people’s forgiveness.
"I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, having been subjected to it myself. In all my work my inspiration has been to unite people of every race, creed, religion and sexuality by celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity through fashion. That remains my guiding light.
Spokespeople for both Dior and Galliano say their runway shows on Friday and Sunday at Paris Fashion Week will go ahead as scheduled.
Meanwhile rumors of who’s going to replace Galliano at Dior are thriving. Suzy Menke’s at The New York Times says "it is natural that the name of Riccardo Tisci, the current designer at Givenchy, is considered high on the list of possible replacements."
Scott Schuman, the man behind The Sartorialist, agrees Tisci might be next in line at Dior. He’s mentioned a second contender too, Hedi Slimane, who also has a history with Dior but is rumored to be in negotiations to take over YSL.