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

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'