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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Free Speech in the EU: On the Judgement on John Galliano's Anti-Semitism

On March 1, 2011, Sidney Toledano, CEO of the French fashion house Christian Dior, wrote that he was dismissing its chief designer, John Galliano, after the surfacing of a video that showed "his anti-Semitic outbursts at a Paris bar." The word choice of outbursts by The New York Times is interesting, for the actual video shows him in a rather mellow, notably intoxicated, "well you know" mood. The article's writer admits that the designer had used "a slurred voice." Galliano was telling a Jewish couple that they should feel lucky that their ancestors were not killed by the Nazis because so many did not survive. He said ‘‘people like you would be dead,’’ and  ‘‘your mothers, your forefathers’’ could have all be ‘‘gassed.’’ Although applying a rational criterion to a drunk man, I wonder in what sense he meant ‘‘I love Hitler.’’ Considering that Galliano is gay and Hitler sent homosexuals to concentration camps, I suspect that Galliano was lying simply to hurt the couple in what was undoubtedly a back-and-forth in a verbal fight.  Indeed, it takes two to tangle, and the rest of us might do well to recognize the difficulty in interpreting a snipet without having observed the entire contest.

The full essay is at "Free Speech in the E.U."