His drunken anti-Semitic ravings two years ago were enough to get him fired from a high-profile job and almost landed him in a Paris jail. They were not enough, however, to persuade New York’s Parsons The New School for Design on Friday from formally hiring legendary clothing designer John Galliano to teach a student workshop — which has Jewish students up in arms.
CBS New York reports that many are protesting the school’s decision, citing Galliano’s hate-filled rant at a Paris bar during Fashion Week of 2011, during which he loudly declared:
I love Hitler. Your forefathers would be [expletive] gassed, and [expletive] dead.
In France, issuing “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” is a crime. Galliano was arrested, tried, and found guilty. Under French law he could have been sentenced to jail time, but instead the judge levied an $8,400 suspended fine against him.
But that was then and there. And this is here and now. Students’ only recourse is to sound off, which they began doing on Tuesday in anticipation of the school’s plan with an online petition that accuses the university of valuing Galliano over them. By Friday, they had more than 475 signatures.
But despite the uproar, there are those who support the hiring. That includes Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, who said:
John Galliano apologized for what he says. He reached out. He repaired. He’s been studying and I live in a world where my Jewish values teach me to forgive.
On Friday, the dean of Parsons emailed a letter to students that reads in part:
I believe our students can learn from Mr. Galliano’s successes as well as his failures.… Having Mr. Galliano on our campus will be difficult. But what is difficult is often right.
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