Court convicts designer John Galliano in anti-Semitism case

Former Christian Dior designer John Galliano arrives at the Paris court house, June 22, 2011.
AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Former Christian Dior designer John Galliano.
AP Photo/Thibault Camus

(CBS/AP) PARIS - John Galliano, the ex-Christian Dior designer known for his over-the-top and theatrical runway collections, was found guilty Thursday of racism after he was accused of making anti-Semitic insults at a Paris bar last March.

Pictures: John Galliano

The three-magistrate panel showed leniency and the designer was sentenced to a suspended fine of $8,400. That means,  according to the Associated Press, he won't have to pay but the fine will go on his record.

A Paris court found Galliano guilty of "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity. " It is a crime which can mean up to six months in prison and up to 22.500 euro ($32,175) in fines. 

A couple accused Galliano of making anti-Semitic comments to them in a cafe in February. Galliano was taken in by police for questioning and a sobriety test showed he was drunk. Then another woman came forward with similar claims about another incident in the same cafe last October.

Days after the February incident, a video was broadcast on the website of the British tabloid The Sun showing an inebriated Galliano insulting a fellow cafe client, slurring: "I love Hitler."

French law prohibits public insults toward others because of their origins, race or religion.

"All my life I've fought against prejudice and intolerance and discrimination because I have been subjected to it myself," Galliano said at his one-day trial in June. "I apologize for the sadness that this affair has caused and I apologize to the court as well."

Presiding Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud said the magistrates' clemency was in part due to the fact that the designer had apologized to the court and the plaintiffs.

Galliano, who did not attend Thursday's court proceedings, was given no prison time.

Charges against the outspoken British designer shocked the fashion world and cost Galliano his job at Dior where he had worked for 14 years.

After joining the company in 1996, Galliano made an indelible mark on the storied house, with theatrical, often outrageous, runway shows that were among the most-anticipated displays on the Paris fashion calendar.

Galliano said he had been under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs and couldn't recall the incidents in question.

More on Crimesider
June 23, 2011 - Designer Galliano on trial for drunk anti-Semitic insults, facing up to $32K in fines, jail
March 3, 2011 - John Galliano, top Dior designer, facing trial for racial remarks