Controversial fashion designer John Galliano, who was fired from his post as creative director at Christian Dior in 2011 following an anti-Semitic rant, will not be teaching a workshop at Parsons The New School of Design in New York City after all, the school announced today. But it won’t be because Jewish students sounded off in opposition to remarks Galliano had made that led to his ouster from the Paris design firm, which included, “I love Hitler. Your forefathers would be [expletive] gassed, and [expletive] dead.”
Rather, the reason, the Daily News notes, is that the school and Galliano couldn’t come to an agreement on “a candid discussion” he was to lead “about the connection between his professional work and his actions in the world at large.”
In other words, the designer is unrepentant for his earlier hate speech and refused to promise he wouldn’t enlarge upon it in his four-day appearance.
The Daily News reports that a spokesman for Galliano didn’t immediately return a request for comment, but there is no real need. It seems likely that an apology he gave for his 2011 tirade was insincere and that he still finds Jews repulsive.
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For what it’s worth the students are Parons are potentially a victim twice in this morality tale. At the risk of seeming to play devil’s advocate, let me explain. Supposing Galliano turned out to be a brilliant instructor — an academician of such great distinction that students at Parsons would have learned something about design obtainable from no one else on the planet. Those invaluable lessons will now be lost to them in much the way the music of Wagner, with all its richness and haunting melodies, will be forever lost to a Jewish friend who refuses to listen on the grounds that the composer was a rabid anti-Semite.
This is no way intended to excuse religious intolerance toward any group or to suggest that Parsons was mistaken in breaking its agreement with John Galliano. If anything, the school’s most grievous offense was the deaf ear it turned on protesting students. Rather, it is to say that we need to exercise extreme caution in shutting out adversity when an incalculable cost is attached to our actions.
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