Dior's Galliano hit by fresh anti-Semitism charges

PARIS (AFP) – Top fashion designer John Galliano, already suspended from Dior for alleged anti-Semitic insults, faced fresh trouble Monday after a video emerged of him saying he loved Adolf Hitler.

The video posted on a British newspaper's website is the latest blow to the flamboyant Galliano, 50, who was briefly detained last week for an alleged anti-Semitic rant, leading another woman to accuse him of a similar incident last year.

AFP file - Fashion house Dior suspended John Galliano, seen here in 2010, after police questioned its flamboyant star designer for allegedly verbally assaulting a couple and using anti-Semitic insults in a Paris bar

In a video posted on The Sun's website, the visibly inebriated British designer tells a woman at a Paris cafe "I love Hitler" and adds: "People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f(expletive) gassed."

The Sun said Galliano was at the same cafe, La Perle, in the trendy and historically Jewish Marais district of Paris which is a popular gay spot, where he allegedly assaulted a couple and made anti-Semitic comments last week.

Dior suspended the British designer on Friday the day after he allegedly assaulted and used anti-Semitic insults against a couple in Thursday's incident at La Perle.

But a source close to the investigation said Monday that none of the witnesses questioned by police in connection with last Thursday's incident at La Perle confirmed that Galliano had made the comments.

Two security guards and the manager of the cafe said in letters that they had not heard the alleged anti-Semitic remarks.

And two customers who were in the cafe at the time of the incident and who were questioned by police Monday also said they had no heard Galliano make the comments.

Complete entertainment coverageBut Galliano met with his accusers in a Paris police station Monday and the couple maintained their allegations against the fashion designer.

That incident led a woman who allegedly suffered similar abuse in October 2010 to come forward and lodge a complaint against Galliano. She said that at the time she put the incident down to excessive alcohol consumption.

After the remark about Hitler in the video posted on the Sun's website, a woman is heard saying "Oh my God", before asking Galliano -- whose speech is slurred -- if he has a problem.

He replies: "With you. You're ugly."

Asked where he was from, he says: "Your a(expletive)."

The newspaper said the group of friends insulted by Gibraltar-born Galliano were French and Italian, but not Jewish.

It is not clear when the video was filmed.

Paris Fashion week is to begin this week and Galliano would normally be focused on preparing his autumn-winter collections for Christian Dior and his own label.

Despite the imbroglio, his show is due to go ahead as planned on Friday at Paris' Rodin Museum.

"These new accusations in this second complaint are similar to those of Thursday," a judicial source told AFP.

Galliano allegedly mocked the 48-year-old woman's physique before firing off anti-Semitic insults in English.

His lawyer Stephane Zerbib told Le Parisien newspaper that he was "unaware" of another altercation.

Galliano has denied using anti-Semitic insults and has himself lodged a complaint for defamation, his lawyer said.

The designer on Monday met the couple at a Paris station, arriving in a grey 4x4 and declining to answer journalists' questions.

The meeting is aimed at deciding if there are grounds for prosecution. Police will also question him about the latest allegation.

"Mr Galliano is in the meeting (which is going) very well," his lawyer Zerbib said.

Police detained Galliano for questioning on Thursday after they were called to La Perle and he was found to have consumed several times over the legal alcohol limit for driving.

The designer was released and taken home by his driver pending possible charges.

Galliano took over the creative helm at Dior in 1996 and has been described as the driving force behind the label's 700 million euro annual profits.

The moustachioed designer has styled himself publicly as a neo-modern Edwardian dandy, assuming rock star poses at the end of his shows.

But backstage he is rather shy and more interested in discussing the technical aspects of his creations, of which he churns out an average of one a month.

Born to a British plumber father and a Spanish mother, Galliano has been billed as one of the most influential designers of our time.

He attended London's renowned Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, where his 1984 graduation show called "Les Incroyables" was themed on the 1789 French revolution.

His often spectacular shows are inspired by history and his own travels around the world. He moved to Paris in 1993.

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