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Dior fires Galliano over anti-Semitic comments
French fashion house Dior said it had taken steps to fire star British designer John Galliano.
Paris: French fashion house Dior said Tuesday it had taken steps to fire star British designer John Galliano, who is accused of making repeated anti-Semitic outbursts at a bar in Paris.
Christian Dior Couture said in a statement it had "decided on his (Galliano's) immediate dismissal and begun the process of retrenchment".
Police in France are investigating Galliano, 50, after a couple and a woman accused him of anti-Semitic insults in two separate episodes at a bistro in the historic Le Marais neighbourhood of central Paris. The couple also accuse him of racial insults.
The flamboyant Galliano, who is credited with revitalising Dior's image since joining the company, in 1996, and spurring a period of runaway commercial success, denies the allegations.
At a meeting Monday with his accusers at a Paris police station Galliano, who showed up in a broad-brimmed black hat, produced several witnesses who backed his version of last Thursday's spat with the couple.
After that argument, in which Galliano is accused of saying the woman had a "dirty Jewish face", another woman came forward with similar allegations dating back to October.
The case took on extra momentum Monday with the surfacing of video footage apparently showing a drunken Galliano spouting anti-Semitic abuse in the same bistro.
In the mobile phone video, which was posted on the website of British daily The Sun, he is seen declaring his love for Adolf Hitler in a slurred voice and telling a group of young people at an adjacent table: "People like you would be dead today. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f****** gassed."
Dior, which had suspended Galliano last week over the allegations but said it would await the outcome of the police investigation before taking further action, said his "particularly odious" behaviour in the video prompted the decision to fire him.
Newly-crowned Oscar-winning US actress Natalie Portman, who is the face of Miss Dior Cherie perfume, weighed in on the affair Monday, saying she was "deeply shocked and disgusted" by the video.
"As an individual who is proud to be Jewish", Portman said in a statement, she would "not be associated with Galliano in any way."
The affair cast a cloud over the start of Paris Fashion Week. Friday, Dior is scheduled to show off its ready-to-wear Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, which was designed by Galliano.
Friends of the designer told French media he had been sucked into a morbid, alcohol-steeped downward spiral recently.
Born in British-controlled Gibraltar in 1960 to an English father and Spanish mother, Galliano briefly worked for Givenchy before joining Dior.