attempting to show sympathy and a connection with the very people he has offended.Saying chasidim “do not wear fedora hats, pinstripe pants, blue jackets or an ascot tie,” Anti-Defamation League leader Abraham Foxman ripped the New York Post on Wednesday for a story suggesting controversial fashion designer John Galliano mocked ultra-Orthodox Jews this week.
The tabloid’s story showed Galliano in what it called an “ill-advised outfit” that included a long coat, knickers, a black hat and peyos-like sidelocks, noting that the designer was fired from Christian Dior in Feb., 2011 after Paris tourists filmed him praising Hitler in a bizarre and evidently drunken rant.
The incident prompted Jewish A-Lister Natalie Portman, who endorses a Dior fragrance, to express her “disgust.” Later that year, a Paris court fined him $8,400 for making bigoted public statements, illegal under French law.
Foxman said in his statement that Galliano has been trying to make amends since that incident and has “spent hours with me and with others in the European Jewish community, including rabbis and Holocaust scholars, in an effort to better understand himself and to learn from his past mistakes. He is trying very hard to atone.”
The Post story, he said, was “a complete distortion” and “at worst a deliberate, malicious distortion” and “anyone familiar with the dress of traditional Orthodox Jews should not mistake what Galliano is wearing in the photograph as ‘Hasidic garb.’ This is John Galliano being John Galliano. His dress is always eccentric and his hair is always worn long. This is, at the very least, ignorance on the part of the reporters and editors at the Post, or, at worst, a deliberate, malicious distortion in an effort to sell newspapers. “
Suzi Halpin, a spokeswoman for the Post, did not reply to two emails requesting comment about the story on Wednesday and Thursday. The paper’s fashion editor, Suzanne French, came to Galliano’s defense last week, saying he was “attempting to show sympathy and a connection with the very people he has offended,” later adding “Either that, or he converted.”
A photographer snapped the photo of the British Galliano, 52, as he left a friend’s Manhattan apartment and went to an Oscar de la Renta Fashion Week event. The Post quoted harsh reactions from Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind and chasidic activist Isaac Abraham.
Galliano has been working with de la Renta and also has his own fashion label.