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Galliano’s fashion designs help reduce his sentence for anti-Semitic slurs

Designer John Galliano, center, at the end of the presentation of the Christian Dior fall-winter 2007/2008 ready to wear collection in Paris. (Remy de la Mauviniere/AP)

The defense rested on a dress.

A Paris court found fashion designer John Galliano guilty of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” on Thursday, but suspended his sentence in part because of Galliano’s past designs.

In two separate incidents in February, Galliano accosted three people in a Paris bar, hurling anti-Semitic remarks at them. A video of one of the incidents appeared online and showed a slurring Galliano making such remarks as “I love Hitler.” Many thought Galliano was at the top of the fashion world, but the case quickly derailed his career when the fashion house Dior fired him in the wake of the video.

However, his past work at Dior seems to have helped him in the case. Galliano used his “multi-cultural-infused work” to defend against accusations of racism, saying he spoke at the bar under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The court seems to have bought at least part of that argument. From the Associated Press:

The judge said the court found Galliano had “sufficient awareness of his act despite his addiction and his fragile state.” But the court also took into account that he apologized to the plaintiffs during the June trial and noted the “values of tolerance” in his work.

The court ordered Galliano to pay €16,500 ($23,200) in court fees for the each of the eight complainants (five anti-racism associations paired up with the three victims). He must also pay a symbolic €1 ($1.40) in damages to each one. His sentence included a €6,000 ($8,400) fine, but it was suspended. In all, Galliano will hand over $23,211.20 in payment for his remarks — or just around the price of one haute couture multi-cultural-infused Dior dress.

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