Galliano Files Defamation Claim, Faces Accuser Monday
Update (2/28): As expected, Galliano attended a meeting with his accuser at the Paris public prosecutor's office. Europe 1 reports that the designer spent four-and-a-half hours at the meeting with two of his accusers, presumably Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgiti. There's still little information on what went on inside, although Le Parisien says that the accusers maintained their original story. AFP writes that so far, no witnesses have confirmed that any anti-Semitic remarks were made last Thursday night -- including two security guards, the owner of the cafe La Perle and two other bystanders, all of whom submitted statements or were interviewed.
The AP has footage of his arrival.
Update (2/27): WWD reports that the Paris public prosecutor's office has ordered John Galliano to meet his accuser, Geraldine Bloch, on Monday afternoon. Galliano's lawyer Stephane Zerbib told the fashion newspaper, "If the public prosecutor's office decides it is an emergency case, things could go very quickly."
WWD adds that the penalty for defamation, which Galliano is suing Bloch for, can be one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros ($61,884). The Associated Press writes that making anti-Semitic remarks, which Galliano is accused of (and which is illegal in France), can result in six months in prison -- "Some public figures have been convicted on such charges in the past, but are usually given only suspended sentences."
Other points of clarification -- at least some of the insults were said in English, according to Le Figaro, including possibly the anti-Semitic remarks, further complicating the story. There is no reliable account of how the entire thing began and no word on what will happen regarding Dior's March 4 show.
Previously: John Galliano has filed a defamation claim against a couple who claimed he assaulted them and hurled anti-Semitic remarks on Thursday night, Women's Wear Daily reports.
Galliano's lawyer Stephane Zerbib told the fashion newspaper that the designer provided police three witness statements saying the comments were never uttered -- including the account of Galliano's own chauffeur.
Zerbib added, Galliano "is not guilty and is not embroiled in a court case or anything. He feels [the suspension from Dior] is a decision that has been made without verification of the facts and based on one side of the story and he is very shocked about that."
Le Figaro gained access to the police reports filed on that night -- the couple who first accused Galliano of making the remarks is named as Geraldine Bloch, 35, and Philippe Virgiti, 41. The incident started around 9 p.m. at La Perle in Paris' Third Arrondissement. Galliano allegedly yelled (based on our translation) "Dirty jewish face, you should be dead!" and "Fucking Asian bastard, I will kill you!" to Virgiti, who is of Asian descent. There was also some hair pulling and an assault. There is no reason given as to why it all began.
But then it continued. Le Figaro writes (and, again, we translate):
"Shut your mouth, dirty bitch. I cannot tolerate your voice," Galliano yelled. The woman in question [Bloch], who works at The Institut du Monde Arabe, didn't leave. "You are so ugly I cannot even look at you," continued the designer. He added, "You have low-end boots, disgusting thighs. You don't have hair, your eyebrows are ugly, you're disgusting, you're nothing but a bitch." And he finished his diatribe with, "I am the designer John Galliano." He told the woman's companion [Virgiti], "I will kill you." According to the young, female victim, he [Galliano] pushed the provocation up to the point of almost calling his lawyer and offering to give the couple his telephone. The woman refused. After being alerted, the police arrived in several minutes. After being taken to the station and tested, the aggressor [Galliano] tested positive for the "Alcotest" at 1.01g. He passed by Hotel Dieu [Hospital]'s medical service, and was quickly examined but without a blood test. Shortly after his arrest, he was given his freedom. And the designer's chauffeur, who waiting patiently at Hotel Dieu, was given permission to take him home.
The female victim spoke with Europe1 on Friday, although she requested to remain anonymous. She recounted:
"I was sitting with a friend and the table next to us was open. A bizarre guy sat down, ordered a mojito and started to tell me I was a bitch. At the beginning it was just 'dirty bitch,'" and after the anti-Semitic and racist insults. "We couldn't get rid of him, he was a friend of the owner," and the people around her had to tell her, "That's a star, that's John Galliano." "I'm not Jewish but in this case, I feel a solidarity with an Arab person and a Jewish person."
There are a handful of witnesses who say they never heard the anti-Semitic remarks at all. And The Cut writes:
We spoke with a source today who has worked closely with Galliano on several projects and "can't imagine he would do this to anyone." He added, "I'm an observant Jew, and I know from my own experiences with him that there's no way he hates Jewish people. He's incredibly gentle."