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Galliano Accuses Couple of Defamation

Designer said to be “shocked” about suspension at Dior.

PARIS – John Galliano is fighting back against allegations that he uttered anti-Semitic and racist slurs during an altercation with a couple at a Paris café last Thursday.

His lawyer Stephane Zerbib told WWD the designer visited police in Paris’ third arrondissement at midnight on Friday to provide three witness statements that he never made any such comments.

The designer has also filed a claim of defamation and injury against the couple – identified on Le Figaro’s Web site as Géraldine Bloch, 35, and Philippe Virgiti, 41 – and is now awaiting the decision of police, Zerbib said.

Zerbib also said Galliano is “shocked” that Dior – citing a zero-tolerance policy on racism and anti-Semitism – suspended him from his job functions pending the outcome of the police investigation.

“He is not guilty and is not embroiled in a court case or anything. He feels it is a decision that has been made without verification of the facts and based on one side of the story and he is very shocked about that,” Zerbib told WWD.

The lawyer added that Galliano’s chauffeur, who was present at the café during the incident, is a key witness and has confirmed to police that the designer’s account of events is correct. Zerbib declined to provide the chauffeur’s name.

For complete coverage, see Monday’s WWD

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