John Galliano: "I Completely Deny The Claims Made Against Me"

The embattled designer — under police investigation for two separate incidents in which he allegedly screamed racist and anti-Semitic abuse at strangers in a bar, and a third, captured on video, in which he drunkenly declared his love for Hitler and spoke of all the people who wouldn't be around today because "your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed" — has issued a statement via his London lawyer's office. And he's certainly not going quietly! Galliano denies the allegations categorically, though he does apologize "for allowing myself to be seen to be behaving in the worst possible light" and for "causing any offence."

Meanwhile, the French prosecutor's office has just announced that Galliano will face trial over at least one of the two incidents under investigation — the one last Thursday that led to the then-Dior creative director's arrest in a Paris café/bar for allegedly telling a woman she was a "fucking whore" with a "dirty Jew face" and calling a man a "fucking Asian bastard." (Galliano allegedly also told the woman "you're ugly and your fucking bag is ugly," made digs about her boots and at her eyebrows, and ended his tirade by shouting, "I am the designer John Galliano!" and posing as though he were on the end of a runway. He may have identified himself because, allegedly, the two complainants initially mistook Galliano for a homeless person and responded rudely to his attempt to make conversation, spurring the confrontation. Unconfirmed reports also have the alleged victims threatening Galliano with a chair.) Hate speech, including anti-Semitism, is a crime in France, and the Telegraph reports that Galliano could face up to six months in prison, and a €22,500 fine, if found guilty. The other incident — which allegedly took place in October of 2010, at the same bar/café in the Marais neighborhood of Paris, La Perle — is still being investigated by police.

Here is Galliano's full statement, which was issued just before the prosecutor's announcement:

Since the events of last Thursday evening I have not been able to make any public comment on what took place based upon advice from my French lawyer. However, given the continuing delays at the French Prosecutor's Office I should make my position clear.

I completely deny the claims made against me and have fully co-operated with the police investigation.

A number of independent witnesses have given evidence and have told the police that I was subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing. For these reasons I have commenced proceedings for defamation and the threats made against me.

However, I fully accept that the accusations made against me have greatly shocked and upset people.

I must take responsibility for the circumstances in which I found myself and for allowing myself to be seen to be behaving in the worst possible light.

I only have myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures and that I must work hard to gain people's understanding and compassion. To start this process I am seeking help and all I can hope for in time is to address the personal failure which led to these circumstances and try and earn people's forgiveness.

I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, having been subjected to it myself. In all my work my inspiration has been to unite people of every race, creed, religion and sexuality by celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity through fashion. That remains my guiding light.

Anti-semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologise for my behaviour in causing any offence.

Galliano is counter-suing the two alleged victims of Thursday's incident for defamation. Women's Wear Daily reports that the penalty for defamation in France can be up to one year in prison, a €45,000 fine, or both.

John Galliano to Stand Trial [Telegraph]
Galliano Issues A Statement [NYTimes]