Galliano faces anti-Semitism accusations in Paris

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PARIS (AP) - John Galliano arrived Monday at a Paris police station to face accusations that he made illegal anti-Semitic slurs, hours after a video emerged of the famed fashion designer praising Adolf Hitler.

The Gibraltar-born designer, wearing a wide-brimmed black hat, made no comment to reporters as he entered to face claims by a couple that he made an anti-Semitic remark during a dispute at a trendy Paris cafe.

French officials said a hospital test showed Galliano had 1.1 milligrams of alcohol per liter of blood, more than twice the legal limit to drive in France, after the incident Thursday as he sat alone sipping a mojito.

Christian Dior has suspended Galliano, its creative director, pending an investigation, citing its “zero-tolerance” policy on anti-Semitism. The fashion house is scheduled to present its fall-winter 2011-2012 ready-to-wear show on Friday as part of Paris fashion week.

In the wake of media reports on the incident, another woman came forward Saturday to police accusing Galliano of similar anti-Semitic insults at her in October at the same restaurant _ La Perle, in the Marais district.

On Monday, a video posted on the website of British daily The Sun showed Galliano arguing with a couple at La Perle. It was unclear when the video was recorded, but in it, he was dressed differently than on Thursday.

At one point in the video, starting in mid-conversation, a woman’s voice asks Galliano, “Are you blond, with blue eyes?”

Galliano, speaking in slurred speech, replied: “No, but I love Hitler, and people like you would be dead today. Your mothers, your forefathers, would be … gassed and … dead.”

The newspaper said neither of the people speaking with Galliano were Jewish.

Stephane Zerbib, Galliano’s lawyer, said he didn’t know when the video was filmed, and “there’s no comment on that … What matters isn’t what’s on the Internet, what matters are the testimonies and the hearings.”

“What’s on the Internet doesn’t have much value,” Zerbib said.

Making anti-Semitic remarks is illegal in France, and can bring up to six months in prison. Some public figures have been convicted on such charges in the past, but are usually given only suspended sentences.

The lawyer stuck to his comments to Associated Press on Friday that Galliano “never made an anti-Semitic remark in more than 10 years at Dior.” Zerbib said the designer has denied the couple’s accusations, and has filed a countersuit against them for alleged defamation, threats and insults.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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