Six months after an anti-Semitism scandal engulfed his high-profile fashion career, John Galliano got off essentially scot-free in a Paris courtroom today, avoiding jail time and a fine. Despite being found guilty of “public insults toward persons on the basis of their religion or origin,” the court slapped the designer with a suspended fine of 6,000 euros, far less than the maximum. Galliano will only have to pay the penalty if he repeats the sort of comments that started the scandal, including a declaration that he “love[s] Hitler.”
Galliano’s lawyer — not his original Jewish attorney — argued that the designer’s alleged substance abuse caused him to make the statements, and that he shouldn’t be punished for them anyway, because they were said too quietly to be considered “public.”
Although the panel of judges went easy on Galliano, they rejected both claims — a good thing, since the last thing the world needs is legal backing for the argument that drugs and alcohol magically implant anti-Semitic ideas in the heads of otherwise praise-worthy people.
A lawyer for the target of one Galliano tirade also approved of the verdict, noting that the designer will face his greatest punishment outside the courtroom. Galliano was fired as the creative director of Christian Dior in March, and remains a pariah to the likes of Natalie Portman, if not to everyone in the fashion industry.