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PARIS — Christian Dior has suspended John Galliano's job functions amidst allegations he uttered anti-Semitic and racist remarks during an altercation at a Paris café Thursday night.
In a brief statement, Dior president and chief executive officer Sidney Toledano said the fashion house has a policy of zero tolerance regarding racism and anti-Semitism.
The statement said the suspension would remain in force until the results of a police investigation.
Meanwhile, Galliano’s lawyer Stéphane Zerbib told WWD the designer “expressly denies” all the accusations.
“They said bad things against him. He said bad things against them. And that’s all,” said Zerbib. “Afterwards, the police came and the story’s closed, and that’s all…. He never used against anyone anti-Semitic words or racist words, as it is not his way.”
Zerbib added that Galliano plans to make a claim contesting the couple’s allegations over the next few weeks, adding that it could take from six months to a year to know the outcome of the police investigation.
Under French law, anyone found guilty of making an anti-Semitic comment could be liable to a more than two-year prison sentence, Zerbib said. However, such cases typically result in financial compensation being imposed by a court.
Police in Paris’ third arrondissement detained John Galliano at 9 p.m. Thursday night following an altercation, according to a police source.
The source said a man and a woman have filed a complaint against Dior’s couturier for insults of an anti-Semitic nature.
Galliano was in the throes of preparing Dior’s fall-winter 2011-2012 ready-to-wear collection for its show on March 4. He is also on the calendar to present his signature label on March 6 during Paris Fashion Week. The fate of those events could not immediately be learned.
The police source said that Galliano, who was eventually released by police, had an alcohol reading of 1.01 milligrams of alcohol per liter of exhaled air.
Police are currently investigating the case, which will then be handed over for examination in the Paris public prosecutor’s office, one of its spokeswomen said.