Friday, March 4, 2011

Why John Galliano's Behaviour Should Never Be Defended

As a child growing up in a tiny village in South Wales where me and my sister were the only children of colour raised by a white father we were often singled out for racist taunts. This abuse sometimes turned physical and I was regularly chased by crowds of kids and taunted about my skin colour. This lasted continually up until I was 11 years old and we moved to a multi-cultural town in the South East of England called Milton Keynes. Here there were many other mixed raced children so the racist taunts pretty much ceased. Then came September 11th with the attacks in America committed by Muslim extremists and the taunts started up again. I am not Muslim nor am I Asian but to many I look Asian. I particularly remember going on a night out with friends in Milton Keynes when a bunch of lads started shouting anti-Muslim abuse at me. All of these experiences were terribly upsetting and some of the situations left me feeling terrified and abused.
uk beauty blog john-galliano-fired

So I get very angry when I hear people both in the press and on twitter defending the actions of John Galliano. Chanel Iman, the Vogue Italia editor and Patricia Field have all spoken up in defence of the designer. There is NO excuse for racism. Many have cited possible mental health problems or alleged alcoholism as an excuse for his behaviour. Well I'm here to say it’s NOT an excuse. Lets not forget this wasn’t a one off incident nor was it a one word slip up (not that, that would be acceptable either) – it was a tirade of racist abuse. This is NOT acceptable and when people in the public eye speak up for him they make it seem acceptable – as long as you have a good reason of course (like there’s ever a good reason). No-one should be making excuses for him, everyone should be condemning his behaviour. Whether or not Dior wanted to get rid of him before the revelations emerged is of no consequence after his behaviour it was their only option and the right choice too. Genius does not excuse racist behaviour. Let me ask all who defended him this? If a stranger accosted you in a bar and unleashed a tirade of racist abuse at you or a friend or family member would you defend the abuser? Would you say – oh its not his fault he’s ill he needs help? Or would you be appalled and disgusted and would you think there’s no excuse for this kind of behaviour? As somebody who’s suffered this kind of abuse all my life I can say – there are no excuses or valid reasons for this kind of behaviour and the effect it can have on a person cannot and should not be underestimated.


  1. Great post. Drunk or not, you are responsible for your actions anyway. I'm lucky; I've never been singled out for my race but I find racist behaviours to be outrageous and should not be excused. I'm glad Dior fired him.

  2. So well written and so true!
    I wonder what Chanel Iman would say if he spoke these words in her face. It's easy to be "nice" watching the violence from the distance.

  3. hear hear!

  4. Agreed! The people defending Galliano make me just as upset as the designer himself. It's sad to realize we live in a world where this kind of tirade can be excused. I know I'm bringing up all kind of racial issues here, but I wonder if anyone would be defending Galliano if his racial slurs were directed towards a group that is more often targeted - say gay or black people. It's not that I think antisemitism is any worse than other forms of racism, but somehow it seems that even liberal people tolerate it a bit more.

  5. john's words cannot be defended; the very words a monster would say.

    John is not a monster. This, as known by Dior who begged John several times to get help, is more than an evil drunk saying unthinkable things. It was not a secret that John used drugs heavily for decades as an addict, not as someone partying.

    I honestly believe that John has descended into a severe mental breakdown. Not unlike the lonely mad impulse that led Alexander McQueen to suicide. Whilst the rock n roll designer ofBalmain has beenhospitalized for depression since January.

    This does not, nothing could, excuse those hateful words but it puts a perspective on it albeit a heartbreaking one.

    No one, not Franca Sozzana or me,is making excuses for John. But yes there is that other level that is so painful, that made Madamoiselle Arnault cry at the show.

    The people he worked with loved him.

    It's so hard to watch someone you know descend into madness.

    If it's not true that John is deeply disturbed, then he is a monster.

  6. there are a lot of drug addicts and ill people who don't descend into racist attacks and not all racists are openly racist so you really have no idea whether he is racist or not. And when people try to offer 'explanations' for his behaviour they are excusing him. have you spent a lifetime being taunted because of your race? if not you can't possibly understand the effect it can have on a person. if it was truly down to madness why were they never uttered elsewhere - only in a bar in a jewish area of paris?

  7. exactly I bet she'd feel differently then.

  8. i totally agree. There are no excuses or explanations for racist behaviour.

  9. drink is never an excuse and drink loosens your inhibitions it doesn't feed false thoughts into your head.

  10. While I agree with what you say, I would like to add that for me it is not a question whether he is "bad" or "mad" or whatever. He did something that is against the law. Luckily our socienty is advanced enough to qualify this type of actions as crime. So he has to be punished.
    The morality of what he did is another aspect. Here people are devided to those who feel personally hurt by his words or those who have never suffered from any personal attacks or taunting because of who they are (race, looks, sex..). And indeed, these people will never understand. I guess they are lucky.

  11. I agree. For me his actions were highly personal and made me think of times in my life that i'd rather forget.

  12. exactly totally true...I couldn't agree more...with what you said about his behavior...I hate it when people would talk about racy stuff...I mean even though we have different colors and backgrounds but that does not give you the right to humiliate other race...

    even in the Philippines it does exist the nature of being regionalistic....they always belittle a person's hometown such a sad thought...


  13. Definitely agree with this post. Even more, I question why Dior let him keep working there despite the fact that he was an alcoholic (perhaps he was a functioning one?) but either way now that he has been fired/let go everyone is saying he was openly racist. If so, I find it even more disgusting that no one, in all his time at Dior, spoke up or dared to do anything. I know work politics can be difficult to deal with but he should not have been allowed to keep working if this was true. Why must it take a video for someone to be fired?

  14. If that's the case Dior have a lot to answer for.

  15. I couldn't agree with you any more, it scares me to know how prevalent racism still is everywhere. The work place, the fashion industry, clubs, shopping stores etc ... and that my daughter has to grow up in a world like this. Although it's not as blatant, I still see it and had a situation at work. It's un-ignorable for those of us who have had to deal with it in one way or another. And should not be ignored, or put on a back burner like it's ok. Because it's not!

    Thanks for posting this!

  16. I couldn't agree more - why should alcoholism and mental illness excuse racism?

  17. We forget that in philosophical debates personal experience is not an advantage but often a handicap. It is so sad that people still go trough what you went trough as a child but does it mean John G can no longer be a designer? I think we all need to grow thicker skin and change ourself as opposed to judge others, and stop looking for role models in flamboyant drunk celebrities. I wrote a short post on this on my blog called defending John G. If your mind is not totally made up on this you can check it out. Thanks and all the best!


i love comments i check out all your blogs :)