Galliano arrest spotlights rise in anti-Semitism

Designer is the latest celebrity mired in controversy as attacks on Jews increase

The arrest and suspension of couture designer John Galliano, amid allegations of a booze-fuelled outburst this weekend in a Paris district known for its Jewish community, has reinforced reports of an alarming increase in anti-Semitism.

The French fashion house Christian Dior suspended the designer in the aftermath of what is being described as a drunken confrontation with a couple in the Marais district.

Claims by the pair, denied by Galliano, that he used anti-Jewish and racist slurs against them drew him into a welter of controversy which has most recently led to career trouble for the actors Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson.

Galliano's representatives were last night trying to limit the damage caused by the controversy. His lawyer said the designer intended to claim for defamation and injury against his accusers and pronounced him shocked that Dior had suspended him.

The move came just days after the CBS television network pulled one of America's biggest comedy TV shows, Two and a Half Men. Although Charlie Sheen had tested the company's patience with cocaine and drink-fuelled binges, hotel-room orgies of violence and numerous tabloid eruptions, he overstepped the mark when he appeared to flirt with anti-Semitism in a radio broadcast, referring to the show's creator Chuck Lorre by the Hebrew name Chaim last Thursday.

Hollywood star Mel Gibson suffered another recent postponement of his latest film, The Beaver, capping nearly five years of serious career problems since he was recorded making anti-Semitic comments during a drink-driving arrest in 2006.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center last week highlighted what it suggests is an ongoing problem, with its list of the 10 most high profile anti-Semitic outbursts of 2010.

In the UK, the Community Security Trust, an advisory body for British Jews, warned of a steady increase in attacks in the UK since 1984, with 639 anti-Semitic incidents last year. This was the topped only by a freak jump in numbers the previous year during Israeli military operations in Gaza. Across Europe, monitoring groups report growing concern. On last year's 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, vandals marked at least 18 gravestones with swastikas when they desecrated a Jewish cemetery in France. France's main Jewish organisation, CRIF, said that 13 tombstones at the Cronenbourg cemetery in Strasbourg had also been overturned.

And in the former Soviet Union, anti-Semitic and ultranationalist skinheads increasingly profess themselves above the law. A judge withdrew from a politically charged Moscow murder trial this month involving fascists Nikita Tikhonov and Evgeniya Khasis, who are accused of killing human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in January 2009.

The sentencing judge for the trial, Eduard Chuvashov, was shot dead in April last year.

Star's dilemma

For what she must hope is her crowning moment at tonight's Oscars for her role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman will have wished for anything but the last-minute fashion crisis she now faces.

She is among a gaggle of high-profile guests, who, having been painstakingly fitted with one of Galliano's frocks, face a daunting decision over which dress to wear to the ball.

Galliano's alleged rant could see both Portman and her peers obliged to answer the most untimely and unwanted questions on anti-Semitism.

Penélope Cruz wore Galliano at last year's awards, as did Cameron Diaz, while Charlize Theron, Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto, and Heidi Klum are known to be a fans.

Meanwhile, the model Kate Moss recently revealed she asked Galliano to design the dress for her wedding later this year.

Andrew McCorkell and Chris Stevenson

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003