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Dior to fire John Galliano over anti-Semitic remarks

A star has fallen.

The iconic fashion house of Christian Dior has begun procedures to dismiss John Galliano, its provocative and famous chief designer who has now allegedly taken provocation too far. The flamboyant designer was filmed appearing to ridicule a group of bar patrons with outrageously anti-Semitic remarks. The video surfaced Monday, just days after another couple accused the designer of making similar comments, which Galliano's lawyer has denied.

galliano.jpg

In the comments captured on video, Galliano appears to tell the people he's speaking to, in a slurred voice, that he loves Hitler, that "people like you would be dead," and "your mothers, your forefathers" would all be "gassed."

Just days before the Paris fashion season is set to begin, Galliano's firing is sure to put the fashion industry on edge. But not so much as it will the house of Dior and the luxury goods empire LVMH, of which Dior is a part. It now must find a worthy replacement for the designer, who is credited with energizing the musty Dior brand when he came on board in 1996, and distance itself from a headline-generating scandal that could become a nightmare in the image-obsessed world of haute couture.

Perhaps the creative bench at Christian Dior boasts a long line of talented designers just waiting to take Galliano's place. But the designer's "odious" comments, as Dior chief executive Sidney Toledano described them, underscore the dangers of tying an organization too closely to any one name or star talent, no matter how much they may do for your brand.

It should be a warning sign to LVMH, which has made something of a business model out of hiring talented but controversial designers, having them dust off old brands with modern styling and develop followings among young celebrities who wear and promote the designer--sometimes even at expense of the brand. How often do you now hear red carpet hosts ask "Who are you wearing?" rather than "What label are you wearing?"

While this approach may work well when the designer is loved and adored, it will only backfire if he or she does something as scandalous as what Galliano is alleged to have done. The designer becomes inextricably tied to the brand's success, making him or her that much harder to replace. And the same image-conscious celebrities who helped promote the label could begin to shun it, prompting the style-obsessed masses to do so too. Natalie Portman, who recently signed a celebrity endorsement deal for a Dior perfume, issued a statement Monday evening saying she "will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way."

Imagine, for a moment, that Dior's chief designer was someone who shunned media attention, toiled behind the scenes without his own eponymous line and always promoted the brand over the creative mastermind. The clothing would have to speak for itself, but that hardly means it would end up being less distinctive, less innovative or less beautiful. One would have to assume that if that same designer made anti-Semitic remarks in a crowded bar, it might never have been filmed. If it had, and if the designed was fired, the resulting fallout would likely be short-lived.

Showcasing celebrated talent can be a formula for astonishing success, particularly in an industry as image- and personality-driven as fashion. But it is all too easy for leaders to forget the equally astonishing rate at which such high-flying stars can fall from grace--and can have a negative impact on the brand as they fall.

Also in On Leadership:
Video: Donna Karan on feminine instinct

By Jena McGregor

 |  March 1, 2011; 12:11 PM ET |  Category:  Bad leadership , Career Management , Change management , Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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WOW!
More than commenting on the story, I would like to comment on the other comments.
First I find it interesting how situations like this are politicized and pushed by both sides to the other. BTW if I where to guess the politics of a homosexual clothing designer, it wouldn't be as a conservative.
As for all the comments against Israel, this has always caused me to scratch my head. 5,000 odd years of universal hatred, the pogroms, the holocaust and now the modern day reality of having ever single neighbor praying for and working towards the total annihilation and anyone is surprised at their defensive outlook on the world?

Posted by: jeffrey_mccreary | March 4, 2011 9:27 AM

John Galliano has three incidents of vicious antisemitism to explain. And he has not explained them since racism is inexplicable.

But that is beside the point. He is a racist and a fool. His BFF Hitler, a co-Catholic, would have tossed his fat behind in a concentration camp for two reasons: first, he is gay, and second he has "Negroid features."

Nazi anthropology places black people on a par with apes. Jews, for Nazis, are one step up on the evolutionary ladder.

So, bon voyage, Assange. Natalie Portman has already said au revoir to you, and the rest of us Js do the same.

Too bad you are such a sick Catholic person. What is it with Catholic people anyhow?

Posted by: Farnaz2Mansouri21 | March 3, 2011 1:22 AM

Galliano didn't make any excuse
or apology from what I read. Would it matter?
I find it hard to believe anyone in the West
is concerned for the welfare of the Palestinians! And to to those who use this as an excuse to hate Jews? Fuggedaboudit!
One more thing, everyone assumes just because one is gay he holds all the politically correct views. Even gays have to fit in a box for some to comprehend, if only dimly.

Posted by: SV7SuperVoc | March 2, 2011 5:18 PM

Why is Israel (not Jews) so Despised?

The so-called anti-Semitism is, to the best of my knowledge, anti-Zionism OR anti-Israeli Impunity

Hitler did a vile and despicable deed against the Jews 1939-1945 (about 70 yrs ago). That's historical fact. Did Hitler kill six millions? That's an unexamined fact...but six or six million, the Jews did NOT deserve the suffering that nutty Hitler dumped on Jews.

Since 1948 Israel has displaced millions of Palestinians. Israel continues to steal Palestinian land. Israel has operated Gaza as a concentration camp for more than 60 years. What bothers the world is: what has the Palestinians done to deserve the savagery continuing brutality with which Israel dumps on Palestininians?

Israel has legitimate security interests and like any nation, deserves peace. But Israel acts with IMPUNITY in killing and jailing thousands of Palestinian women and children. Israel investigates its own misdeeds and always seek to paint Palestinians as savages and animals undeserving of human dignity. That's WRONG.

IT IS THE BEHAVIOR OF IMPUNITY THAT THE WORLD HAS COME TO HATE. SELF-PROCLAIMED ZIONIST JUSTIFY ANY ATROCITIES IN THE NAME OF (DON'T YOU REMEMBER WHAT HITLER DID TO US?) BUT THE WORLD IS ASKING (WHERE IS THE DIGNITY FOR PALESTINIANS?) and a lot of people exhibit anti-Israel/anti-Zionism/anti-Impunity sentiments which comes off as anti-Semitism to Israelis.

Having said that: I unequivocally condemn John Gilliano's comments as I unequivocally condemn Israel's terrorist acts against innocent Palestinian women and children.

Posted by: Whispers | March 2, 2011 3:54 PM

Hitler would have thought Galliano was VILE, & smoked him, TOO... crustache & ALL, just for being gay.

Posted by: The_Funknician | March 2, 2011 3:26 PM

What nonsense. Dior's money is made in lipsticks and perfumes, and there are any number of young, controversial designers to replace Galliano, who was just a wanna be Gaultier anyway. It doesn't really matter who it is because the Chinese middle class will buy the lipstick regardless. The designer's work is what, under 5% of the business?

Posted by: jadada | March 2, 2011 2:56 PM

for those of you who don't understand what the hoopla is all about let me explain.

politics and opinions are all over the place: on the news, in tv shows, at the water cooler or coffee maker at work, etc, etc. when it comes to artistic endeavors, however, it is a definite abomination and blasphemous to engage in anything political. i'll even extend this into sports. people engage in sports and the arts to escape the harsh realities of life and for someone to snatch our temporary respite and fantasy away from us, that person needs to be treated with the harshest of penalties.

however, when it comes to where i spend my money, i expect for that company or business owner to share my views and when i put money in that cash register, it is an acknowledgement that i believe in what they, and i, believe in. sometimes it is not always possible due to cable monopolies or geographical shopping limitations. but for me, money equals power and if a person such as galliano receives any additional patronage after his antisemitic remarks, we are only empowering more people to believe in this garbage.

free speech? put your mother on stage and let joan rivers have a go at her for an hour and you have to pay for it. is that free speech?

Posted by: glenknowles | March 2, 2011 2:44 PM

for those of you who don't understand what the hoopla is all about let me explain.

politics and opinions are all over the place: on the news, in tv shows, at the water cooler or coffee maker at work, etc, etc. when it comes to artistic endeavors, however, it is a definite abomination and blasphemous to engage in anything political. i'll even extend this into sports. people engage in sports and the arts to escape the harsh realities of life and for someone to snatch our temporary respite and fantasy away from us, that person needs to be treated with the harshest of penalties.

however, when it comes to where i spend my money, i expect for that company or business owner to share my views and when i put money in that cash register, it is an acknowledgement that i believe in what they, and i, believe in. sometimes it is not always possible due to cable monopolies or geographical shopping limitations. but for me, money equals power and if a person such as galliano receives any additional patronage after his antisemitic remarks, we are only empowering more people to believe in this garbage.

free speech? put your mother on stage and let joan rivers have a go at her for an hour and you have to pay for it. is that free speech?

Posted by: glenknowles | March 2, 2011 2:44 PM

The former president of the University of Iowa, Willard "Sandy" Boyd, had a rule that anybody who worked for him was to follow: "Never do anything that would get you on the front page of the Des Moines Register." Today the rule would be, "Never do anything that would get you on YouTube." John Galliano has violated that rule in the worst possible way with his vile comments that got him fired.

I now have even more respect for Natalie Portman than I did before for her complete and total disassociation with Galliano as a result of his behavior. If anyone should take offense most highly by Galliano's remarks, it is she.

Posted by: ehsmith1 | March 2, 2011 1:12 PM

Galliano is free to think whatever he likes but not free to associate his vile thoughts with Dior. So he loses his job when he opens his stupid mouth about thoughts that he should best keep to himself. It has nothing to do with "Free Speech". Dior is after all an arbiter of taste.

Posted by: noirman | March 2, 2011 12:05 PM

I always thought the English were polite anti-Semites. I guess anyone can be wrong. Does this guy not get, as a gay man, he would be in the ovens faster than the Jews?
What a dumb bell. Sorry he is not a dumb bell but a drunken anti-Semitic nitwit. But, then aren't all the self loathers.

Posted by: seasail | March 2, 2011 11:45 AM

Does anyone remember, I think it was Night Gallery, where the mad scientist was working on a project that would make all evil people one foot tall (or something like that) and when he set it off, he became one foot tall. That's what Galliano's "performance" in the bar reminded me of - he's sitting there calling other people ugly and he looks like something the cat dragged in (after chewing on it for a while).

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | March 2, 2011 11:34 AM

He has failed to learn the lesson of American racists. I was listening to Georgia Tea Party podcast last night and it was all about how they loooove Jesus and how the real racists are the NAACP, and they are merely defending themselves from those reverse racists. They were even using the Stephen Colbert thing about "not seeing race."

Abntisemites need to use those tactics. Mein Kampf is the handbook.

For the record, people like that are in my opinion, equal parts of evil and stupid, and always the spawn of alcoholic parents.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | March 2, 2011 10:55 AM


There was an aunt in our family who had, through no fault of her own, a mental disability.

Nevertheless, she had finished normal school and graduated.

She made herself useful as a farm hand.

She was not jewish, gypsy, communist or anything else typically associated with gas chambers but the Nazis took her away, to what they called, a special school and PUT HER TO DEATH.

Posted by: polecatx1 | March 2, 2011 9:46 AM

He is now sitting on the bench next to Mel Gibson. Also, wasn't he one of the signers of the petetion to have sex charges dropped against Roman Polanski because the little girl knew what was going to happen, and because Polanski was such a fine artist?

This is a bad case of "come uppance" for Galliano, but very satisfying for me to watch from a self righteous distance.

Posted by: LeeH1 | March 2, 2011 9:08 AM

Well he could become the inhouse designer for Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson. He already seems to be making Gaddafi's outfits.

Posted by: msjn1 | March 2, 2011 9:04 AM

Ehh, zat Galleeahno, he keeps me in ze stitches, eh?! Ho, ho, ho!

Posted by: dshepherd2 | March 2, 2011 8:36 AM

I actually kinda worry about the big brotherism going on with everyone having a camcorder and access to utube. Never had a day when you're tired and fussy and things are going against you and you let loose on someone, in fact try hard as you can to say something to piss them off? It happens. But now, like in the movie, there happens to be a camera behind the mirror. Did Galliano belong to a Nazi organization or has he ever been show to discriminate against Jews? Did he ever snarl at Ms Portman, I presume he had the chance? Galliano owes a big apology to to the people he insulted.

As for leadership, I think it's pretty ignorant to suggest that Dior doesn't go all in with branding. It's not like other industry, you'd better be in the moment, if that includes using the designer as the brand even just to get that little extra image so be it. I suspect that the image of a star designer might be more interesting than that of a corporate logo.

Suppose Dior fails now? As suggested, Mr Galliano might be a special talent. Maybe there is another person waiting in the wings, maybe not. Again, this isn't a department store, they're in the business of selling unique, exciting stuff, not towels. It would be the ultimate paradox if Dior goes down the tubes and Ms Portman loses her job

Posted by: jhtlag1 | March 2, 2011 8:10 AM

OMG, I thought liberals didn't support their arguments with logic in the political blogs. This string reads like a playground fight between petulant 5 year olds on the playground.

PS. If there are no consequences to bad acts don't be surprised if the acts continue and escalate.

PSS. If you really want to know what a person thinks get them hammered and PO'd then just listen.

Posted by: theduck6 | March 2, 2011 7:04 AM

We can't have fashion designers talking about jews in public! It will surely cause chaos and dissent. All must either remain silent or repeat media platitudes.

Fire anyone who doesn't keep their opinions to themselves, especially if they are responsible for doing something dangerous like making clothing. How dare anyone have an opinion on what they've seen in the world!

Posted by: thoughts | March 2, 2011 6:58 AM

who cares? he is Barney Frank with a French accent. People say offensive nonsense all the time. Jews and Muslims and hindus curse and say Jesus Christ not holy moses or oh mohammad or oh elephant boy god. people make racist anti Jew, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-anything they are not comments all the time when they are comfortable and around their own race, religion, or ethnicity. if you really want to hear what people think about Jews then don't look to a drunk loon who makes dresses. just ask some young middle eastern or east african to tell you. they hate israel and the people they import there awaiting the gran apoloclypse. this guy is just a hater and is ignorant. racism is not what you say, it is what you do. when he starts telling people that he does not want Jews to buy his clothing or perfume, then you have a problem. until then, stop looking for something to cry about and let these losers with no impact on society go on. he has no authority and no power.

Posted by: doyouktt | March 2, 2011 6:48 AM

Mr Galliano, please take the seat next to Charlie Sheen.

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Posted by: zhenge222 | March 2, 2011 2:42 AM

Actually the Nazi party wouldn't be too happy with Mr. Galliano either. They would be slapping a pink triangle on him just as fast as they would be slapping the yellow star on me. What is it with this antisemitism that just doesn't go away? I may not like something about someone, but religion or race don't really matter or show character.

Posted by: NonnyMouse | March 2, 2011 1:07 AM

He appears to be a pretty self destructive individual as he deliberately angered the group of people who will do their best to destroy him as they've done with so many others.

Posted by: dougeee | March 2, 2011 12:53 AM

There is no nor has there ever been a race for Judaism. Please get this fact straight.

Israel was the cause of 911; maybe that is what the crazy designer was commenting upon.

With all the hate in the world and talk of liberty and freedom, we support ISRAEL that has enslaved, murdered and stolen the land of the Palestinians.

If Israel represents Judaism as with the occupation of the West Bank, the oppression of Palestinians and the theft of their land, theft of their water and natural resources, then being anti-Semitic is a virtue for all who value liberty and freedom.

Israel is not Jewish or John Galliano comments were crude, but don’t we all want to eliminate oppressors of freedom.

How can we invade Iraq when Israel persecuted more people than any other nation in the Middle East?

Jews are part of a religion with many variants. Israelis occupying the West Bank and oppressing the Palestinians caused 911 and should be dealt as we did with Saddam.

Portman is Jewish ans supports the occupation of the West Bank and any company that hires a terrorist like Portman, should have their fashions picketed like we would any nation or supported of Apartheid, land theft and murder.

Hating people because of their religion is insane but hating people because of their actions is understandable.

I hate what Israel is doing to the Middle East and America, but, as in Torah class, no one Christian nor Jew can support Israeli oppression.

Posted by: nacirema | March 2, 2011 12:31 AM

Das Boot! to a hideous little man and his equally hideous fashion statements.

Posted by: DJ_Spanky | March 1, 2011 10:28 PM

Nothing gives me greater pleasure then too witness a liberal, getting bit in the a&& over political correctness.

****You obviously need some schooling.
Only an idiot would make the statement you have. So I'm saying you are an idiot. I guess that make me a liberal. Better a liberal than an idiot. Here's your sign, wear it proudly. "Defund is an Idiot"
fritz

Posted by: papafritz571 | March 1, 2011 9:54 PM

To be Jewish is not a race it is a religion white, black, Asian, are races, if for example you are white you can become Jewish, you cannot however become black.

Posted by: skr3211 | March 1, 2011 7:00 PM
-----
This is not entirely true. Jewish is both a religion and a nation of people who trace their descent (accurately or not) from Abraham through Israel. A Hebrew need not believe in Jewish theology but he or she is still a "Jew" in the national sense.

This is why one can have a "Jewish Atheist" such as Leon Trotsky. To be a "Christian Atheist" is impossible because it is a contradiction in terms. In the term "Jewish atheist", however, the "Jewish" refers to the PEOPLE and not the religion in the same sense as "Irish" in the phrase "Irish atheist".

Someone who is not of Hebraic descent can of course adopt the tenets of Judaism and thus become a Jew in the religious sense but cannot become a Jew in the national sense because he or she cannot claim descent from Abraham.

So far as I know, "Jewish" is the only religion that is also a nationality.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | March 1, 2011 7:14 PM

To be Jewish is not a race it is a religion white, black, Asian, are races, if for example you are white you can become Jewish, you cannot however become black.

Posted by: skr3211 | March 1, 2011 7:00 PM

What a fool.

Doesn't he know that if one must say terrible anti-semitic things, one should do it from behind an anonymous screen-name on a Washington Post comment thread, like everyone else? By actually owning his sick comments, Galliano is making the rest of them look like cowards.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | March 1, 2011 7:00 PM

It is in Dior's Full right to fire this person! What though, is the reason for GLORIFYING and HONORING persons such as the Founding Fathers of America? This is a SERIOUS DOUBLE STANDARD!
THESE CRIMINALS are "HIGHLY ESTEEMED"!
The Founding Fathers participated in slavery which included killing blacks , raping blacks and maiming them yet we see these GROSS SINNERS HONORED in STATUES, MEMORIALS,AND HOLIDAYS. THEIR FACES ARE CONSTANTLY SEEN ON THE MONEY EVERY SINGLE DAY 24 7! Many INNOCENT LIVES were lost and SO MUCH CRUELTY was used AGAINST THE NATIVES OF THIS LAND AND THE SLAVES! These men were not PUNISHED! WHY NO, THEY ARE IN FACT HONORED! The Almighty HIMSELF will BRING JUSTICE SOON!
Jesus Christ is sitting on his Throne JUDGING! Jesus says, "YES I AM COMING QUICKLY"

Posted by: faithfulwitness | March 1, 2011 6:44 PM

Free Speech? Hello! This happened in France where they have an entire different set of laws. One of them is a law against hate speech especially anti-semitic/pro-nazi comments.

Why are all these designers such flakes? Is it because they are creative or because they are allowed to act flaky because their designs sell?

Posted by: DDS112097 | March 1, 2011 5:22 PM

If all the rest of the male designers of women's' clothes look and act like that jerk+off Galliano, no wonder women's' clothes look so anti-feminine.

Posted by: MoonDoggie | March 1, 2011 4:39 PM

6thsense79, go back and read over the posts. You are confused about who posted what.

Posted by: info53 | March 1, 2011 4:25 PM

RealTexan: Once again - free speech means you can't be arrested for what you say. You can still be fired for it. Seems real Texans have had a rough time with the constitution for some time, now.

Posted by: bflorhodes | March 1, 2011 4:16 PM

"What happened to free speech?"
Dior exercised theirs when they fired this idiot.
Posted by: info53
---------------------
You obviously don't understand the concept of free speach. Free speach protects one from being sanctioned by the GOVERNMENT. Since Christian Dior is a PRIVATE company they have the right to fire an employee that has become in their opinion a detriment to the company as long as they're not doing so as retaliation for whistleblowing, discrimination, etc.

If Mr. Galliano wants to start his own NAZIS appreciation group he has the freedom to do so but as private company Christian Dior also has the right not to be associated with him.

When ever something like this comes up people like you scream free speach yet you don't even understand what you're talking about.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | March 1, 2011 4:12 PM

"Nothing gives me greater pleasure then too witness a liberal, getting bit in the a&& over political correctness."

He's not a liberal, he's a freaking NAZI. What planet are you from?

Posted by: info53 | March 1, 2011 3:45 PM

Nothing gives me greater pleasure then too witness a liberal, getting bit in the a&& over political correctness.

Posted by: Defund_NPR | March 1, 2011 3:40 PM

Those backing Galliano on free speech grounds are confusing the right to speak freely with the privilege to have a job. I absolutely endorse Galliano's right to speak his mind (however that's defined in France), even if I completely disagree with him. I also believe in his Dior's right to can him. If Dior didn't, I would take that as tacit agreement.

Posted by: yo_tamon | March 1, 2011 3:33 PM

OMG, a drunk Brit!

Who'd a thunk such a thing was possible?

Posted by: Garak | March 1, 2011 3:31 PM

"What happened to free speech?"

Dior exercised theirs when they fired this idiot.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amen to that. Dior has the right to express themselves by firing you when you embarrass the company with our outrageous stupidity.

By the way the French don't have the right to free speech like Americans do, however free speech in America only protects you from government censorship; companies have no obligation to let you do or say anything you want. Try cussing out your boss and see what happens.

Posted by: flonzy1 | March 1, 2011 3:11 PM

"What happened to free speech?"

Dior exercised theirs when they fired this idiot.

Posted by: info53 | March 1, 2011 2:52 PM

What happened to free speech?

Posted by: RealTexan1 | March 1, 2011 2:44 PM


The "flamboyant designer" Galliano now that is a real knee slapper.

You can tell that WaPo hacks are walking on eggshells on this story.

Posted by: screwjob25 | March 1, 2011 2:33 PM

Bigots and racists have a strange but useful quality that identifies their bigotry:

THEY CAN'T KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT.

It's as though they are so delighted by their feelings of superiority and hatred for their targets that they have to crow about it, usually when the filters are blunted a bit by alcohol or drugs. It's usually expressed in sly code or a wink and a nudge, but it's obvious they are just a-quiver with their own wicked cuteness.

It's handy because sooner or later, they will spill their guts out of sheer enthusiasm for their own beliefs.

Posted by: info53 | March 1, 2011 2:33 PM

The video shows Galliano visibly drunk and it appears the French wine loosened his tongue too far. He is not the first and not the last Frenchman to make disparaging remarks about Jews. Heck, France's Vichy government sent their own French-Jewish citizens to the concentration camps.

Posted by: veloboldie1 | March 1, 2011 2:14 PM

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