Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

Fashion Forgiveness

Should John Galliano ever be allowed in polite company again? And who gets to decide? It’s not easy being a daredevil fashion wunderkind with admitted drug and alcohol addictions and a penchant for outrageous statements and even more outrageous dress.

Galliano, the former head of the legendary Christian Dior fashion house, was ousted in 2011 after hurling anti-Semitic statements in a Paris bar, and derided again for supposedly mocking Haredi Jews with an outfit that could have been an intentional slur but, honestly, given what he wears, one couldn’t tell.

Now Parsons The New School for Design is being petitioned to rescind an invitation to Galliano to teach a three-day course. The petition was circulating days after the Israel Broadcasting Authority said that he could not design the dress worn by Israel’s contestant in the Eurovision song competition, whom the IBA supports.

Is Galliano a permanent affront to Jews and to all good-hearted people everywhere? Or is he, in the words of his unlikely defender, Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation Leagure, a “poor shnook” with an addiction problem who is trying to make amends?

In a recent interview with the Forward, Foxman described how he was asked to meet with Galliano, and ended up counseling him five or six times, giving him books to read and introducing him to rabbis and Holocaust scholars. Foxman is clearly convinced that Galliano has repented, and the ADL leader criticized those who don’t or won’t see it.

“So this kid said, what am I supposed to do?,” Foxman asked. “Get circumcised? What am I supposed to do?

While we reject designating one man the arbiter of who is anti-Semitic and who is not, Foxman asks the right question: What else should Galliano do? Even if we don’t forget, when should we forgive?

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.