Christian Dior firing designer John Galliano

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PARIS (AP) - Christian Dior says it’s firing designer John Galliano after an online video showed him praising Adolf Hitler _ a bombshell certain to rock fashion’s elite world as the latest Paris ready-to-wear shows begin.

The French fashion house showed the famed British designer the door Tuesday following a string of accusations of racist and anti-Semitic rants against patrons of at least one trendy Paris cafe.

Galliano’s ouster raises questions about where Dior will turn for direction next, and the mental state of one of the world’s top talents in an intensely creative and high-pressure industry.

Dior said Tuesday it has launched layoff proceedings for Galliano, just days after he was suspended as its creative director pending an investigation into an alleged anti-Semitic incident in a Paris cafe last week.

On Monday, a video posted online showed Galliano drunkenly telling a cafe patron “I love Hitler” in a different incident.

Christian Dior’s response was severe, chastising “the particularly odious nature of the behavior and words” of Galliano in the video.

Galliano’s lawyer did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

As Paris launched its 2011-2012 fall-winter ready-to-wear shows Tuesday, Jessica Michault, fashion critic for the International Herald Tribune newspaper, said Galliano has “a long hard road in front of him” if he is ever to rebound.

She recalled the shock waves that resonated through the industry after photos of supermodel Kate Moss snorting cocaine emerged in 2005.

“He has to do what Kate Moss did _ go out there and do a mea culpa,” she said. “That said, people in this industry are not going to be as forgiving for anti-Semitic and racist remarks as they were about drug abuse.”

Michault expected the case would amount to “a minor speed bump” for Dior, calling it “a house that has a long and illustrious history, and … (is) stronger than any one designer.”

Dior had came under international pressure after Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, one of the company’s spokesmodels, said in a statement she “will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.”

The house is scheduled to present its fall-winter 2011-2012 ready-to-wear show on Friday. Galliano was also scheduled to present his own signature line on Sunday.

Marcellous Jones, editor-in-chief of thefashioninsider.com magazine, said he was “really surprised that Dior actually had the conviction to fire John Galliano because he makes them a lot of money.”

“I think we were all expecting them to send him to rehab and so they are actually firing him. It’s a bold move,” he said. “It marks a dramatic end to one of the greatest errors in the history of the house of Dior in terms of its international reputation.”

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