The well-publicised affair of John Galliano is now over
, as is almost certainly his career as a top fashion designer, certainly he will never again enjoy the patronage of a large fashion house, least of all Dior, who for reasons they don’t publicise
are especially sensitive about anything anti-Jewish.
Undoubtedly Galliano made a fool of himself, and just as undoubtedly his drunken outbursts in a Paris café were based not on ideology but on a desire to cause maximum offence to the people with whom he was engaged in gutter talk. There is no reason to dispute his claim that he had no recollection of his behaviour, he was evidently plastered, and may well have been under the influence of drugs as well as drink.
It is quite likely that he was badgered by his so-called victims, so we shouldn’t have too much sympathy for them. Nor should we have any sympathy for laws that criminalise free speech or even simple boorishness. Galliano’s real punishment did not come in the courtroom, but in the fashion world, primarily by his being dismissed by the Dior fashion house.
On March 2, Abraham Foxman of the self-styled Anti-Defamation League wrote to the actress Natalie Portman praising her for
her “courageous and heartfelt words in speaking out against [Galliano’s] anti-Semitic comments”. Courageous indeed.
It took real courage to swim against the stream and speak out in defence of Galliano, as did his fellow couturier Jean Paul Gaultier
. Having said that, Galliano had to go, not because his comments were so outrageous, as they were, context aside, not because he is either an admirer of Adolf Hitler or an anti-Semite, clearly he is neither, but because while all men may be equal, higher standards are required of those who aspire to or hold high office, in and out of government.
If Joe Sixpack wants to shoot off his mouth, hang out with ladies of the night, and get involved in night club brawls, that is his inalienable right; a circuit judge who does so will be removed from the bench.
An actress who works as an ambassador for a children’s charity – whether paid or unpaid – will be asked to resign if it transpires she has a secret career as a porn star.
Although he is now in the twilight of his playing career, David Beckham continues to be one of the most marketable sportsmen in the world. Like most soccer players he has fallen foul of the referee on occasion, but off the pitch he is a family man with a spotless record. How many companies would have chased him to endorse their products if like certain showbiz types he had been in and out of rehab, and busted for possession?
David Beckham is standing on a pedastal, which means he towers far above us, but the downside to standing on a pedastal is if you once lose your footing, you will fall badly, which is what happened to John Galliano, and only in truly exceptional cases can there ever be a way back.