PARIS — Guerlain sought to distance itself from perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain on Tuesday after the 73-year-old used a racial slur during an interview on French television last Friday.

This story first appeared in the October 20, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The company asserted that Guerlain’s comments were “intolerable” and went against the “culture, values, and ethics practiced by the enterprise, which promotes the diversity of talents of all origins.”

In its statement, the company stressed that Jean-Paul Guerlain, the fourth and last generation in a family of noses, has not been a shareholder since 1996 and officially retired in 2002.

Currently a consultant for the company’s perfumer, Thierry Wasser, Guerlain appeared on France 2’s lunchtime news show to promote the iconic fragrance Samsara. In talking of how hard he worked to create the fragrance, Guerlain used a racial slur.

Bad timing, one might say: Last week, Jean-Paul Guerlain published his memoirs, “Parfums d’Amour,” and the LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton-owned fragrance house launched what the perfumer has described as “perhaps the last fragrance I will create,” a duo of men’s scents called Arsène Lupin.

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