John Galliano was convicted yesterday of Anti-Semitic behavior or, more specifically, “public insults toward persons on the basis of their religion or origin.” It makes for a bold headline yet his penalty is just 6000 Euro, to be paid only if he slips up again. Although the verdict is much lighter than initially suggested, the designer has paid a high price for his behavior — the termination of his contracts at both Dior and his own label, John Galliano, would have been devastating, and no doubt he has also suffered from the media attention and public scrutiny surrounding the incident. In Paris, since March, dinner table discussions have returned time and time again to the topic of his tragic demise, and not a person — fashion-inclined or otherwise — can walk past La Perle without making a comment. The bar, still crammed every night, should probably name a drink after the man and be done with it.
Yet the creative industry can be a forgiving playground and the European scene even more so: Lars Von Trier’s film Melancholia has been largely unaffected by his recent comments at Cannes; Roman Polanski’s career has carried on, and Kate Moss, who at one point was known as ‘Cocaine Kate’, is yet again the darling of the fashion industry. It goes without saying that Galliano will most probably enjoy the same fate — the fashion industry for the most part has lamented the absence of his talent, and there’s no denying that we all love a comeback. With respect to the latter, though, is it that we forgive these individuals for what they have done, or that we forget what they have done? In Polanski’s case I always thought this was a very interesting read; and for Galliano, whose mildest moment during his tirade of abuse was pronouncing his love for Hitler (the rest of the transcript you will have to Google), should there really be redemption? Only time will tell, and whether he deserves it or not will be up to him.