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No Fine, No Time: Paris Court Convicts Ex-Dior Designer Galliano in Anti-Semitism Case

September 9, 2011

John Galliano’s drunken anti-Semitic ravings cost him his job at Paris luxury house Christian Dior and gave him a criminal record but didn’t land him in jail, a Paris court ruled Thursday.

The court found Galliano guilty on two counts of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” - charges that carry a maximum sentence of six months in prison and fines of up to €20,000.

A Paris court Thursday convicted ex-Dior designer John Galliano in an anti-Semitism case. But he won't face jail, and his fine was suspended. (Sept. 8)

A Paris court Thursday convicted ex-Dior designer John Galliano in an anti-Semitism case. But he won't face jail, and his fine was suspended. (Sept. 8)

But the three-magistrate panel showed leniency, sentencing the legendary designer to a €6,000 ($8,400) suspended fine, which means it goes on Gallianos criminal record but he does not have to pay it. The court did not give Galliano prison time.

Presiding judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud said the magistrates clemency was in part due to the fact that the designer had apologized to the court and the plaintiffs - who contended the designer showered them with a litany of racist and anti-Semitic insults in two separate run-ins at a Paris watering hole.

In testimony before the court in proceedings in June, Galliano said he didnt recall anything about the spats and explained he had been under the influence of a “triple addiction” to alcohol, barbiturates and sleeping pills. Still, he added he was sorry for the sadness that this whole affair has caused.

Lawyers for both sides welcomed Thursdays ruling.

It is a wise ruling, Galliano lawyer Aurelien Hamelle told journalists outside the courtroom. Mr. Galliano is clearly relieved ... and asked me to apologize for him once again.

Galliano is looking forward to a future of forgiveness and understanding, hopefully, and to put all of this behind him.

Yves Beddouk, an attorney representing one of the plaintiffs, said his client, Geraldine Bloch, was perfectly satisfied.

Although Galliano will not have to fork out any money in fines, he was ordered to pay 16,500 ($23,200) in court fees for Bloch and two other plaintiffs, as well as five anti-racism associations. The court also ordered him to pay a symbolic 1 ($1.40) in damages to each.

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, denounced the ruling.

It is outrageous that someone who told others that they ‘ought to be dead and expressed support for the Holocaust gets away with less than a slap on the wrist, Kantor said. This sentence demonstrates that there appears to be a culture of impunity in the entertainment world.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, said the symbolic one euro fine by a French court was the right legal punishment for John Gallianos public anti-Semitic outbursts.

Now it is up to him to make amends to the community he demeaned and to the public at large, according to a statement from the center. That cannot be achieved through carefully crafted press releases but only through his future deeds and words.

Although Gallianos remarks would not be punishable in the U.S., France has strict laws aimed at curbing anti-Semitic and racist language. The laws were enacted in the decades following the Holocaust.

Source: The Washington Post

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