Dior designer charged

Dior designer Galliano will meet woman charging anti-Semitism, lawyer says

Christian Dior SA fashion designer John Galliano will meet the woman accusing him of anti-Semitism tomorrow in a confrontation called by Paris prosecutors to settle the matter four days after he was arrested, his lawyer said.

The woman claimed a drunken Galliano verbally attacked her and her companion at a Paris cafe, using anti-Semitic and racist phrases. Dior, where Galliano is head designer, suspended him pending a police investigation into the incident.

Galliano filed counterclaims against the woman, accusing her of "defamation, intimidation and slander," Stephane Zerbib, his lawyer, said in an interview today. "It was he who was assaulted first, he responded but he was never violent and never uttered anti-semitic statements."

Dior's suspension of its head designer came one week before the scheduled presentation of Galliano's collection for Dior Couture at Paris Fashion Week at the Rodin museum. Gibraltar- born Galliano, 50, is renowned for staging spectacular fashion shows and is scheduled to show his own label on March 6. Zerbib had no information on how the affair would affect the two events.

"It's been more than 12 years that he's worked at Dior and he has never had a racism or anti-Semitism problem," Zerbib said. "Galliano did nothing, he is serene, he wants his honor restored."

Galliano had "drunk a bit of alcohol," Zerbib said, while saying that was "not a problem." Galliano's version of the events is backed up by other witnesses at the cafe in Paris's fashionable third arrondissement, he said.

(Published by Bloomberg - February 27, 2011)

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