British designer John Galliano, who has been a creative director at fashion house Christian Dior for 14 years, has been sacked after allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks to an unsuspecting couple in a Parisian bar.
Dior suspended the 50-year-old last week, and he was subsequently questioned by police for five hours on Monday over the incident in Paris's upmarket Marais district -- the traditional home of the city's Jewish community.
This was not the first time Galliano has made anti-Semitic remarks. After his arrest, footage emerged on the Sun website of the flamboyant designer launching into a drunken tirade in October, at the same Mexican-inspired bar. He tells a couple:
"People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f****** gassed."
The couple's friend caught this rant on her mobile phone camera.
After declaring "I love Hitler", Galliano slurs, "you're ugly" at the woman talking to him.
A spokesperson for the designer refused to comment but fellow designer Giorgio Armani has said he is "sorry that John Galliano had been video taped without his knowledge", adding, "it is obviously a difficult time for him".
Galliano has picked a bad time in the fashion calendar to cause trouble. When Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, who is Jewish and under contract to Dior as the face of the perfume Dior Cherie heard of Galliano's rant, she sent back the Dior gown that she was planning to wear to the Oscar's, choosing to walk down the red carpet in one made by designer Rodarte instead.
Portman issued a statement to Associated Press, saying that she is "deeply shocked and disgusted" by Galliano's behaviour and "will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way".
Dior has a "zero-tolerance" policy towards any racist or antisemitic behaviour and is yet to announce whether Galliano's autumn-winter Dior show, due to run on Friday, will go ahead.
Galliano is a darling of the fashion world, known for his trademark moustache and outrageous outfits. Born in Gibraltar in 1960 to a Gibraltan father and an Andalusian mother, and educated in London, he has lived in Paris for the last 20 years. He has been honoured on both sides of the channel, recieving both the French Legion d'Honneur and a CBE for his services to fashion.
Paris prosecutors are expected to decide by the end of the week whether he will face trial over the incident. Under French law, making anti-Semitic remarks is punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine of up to 22,500 euros.
Fashion blogs are speculating that designer Hedi Slimane will take over as Dior's creative director.