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Is it time for John Galliano to move on?

  Wednesday 15th May 2013

It seems that John Galliano’s anti-Semitic comments in 2011 have forever tainted his reputation. Known as the “wild child”, who took Dior to another platform, he has yet again made headlines, not in a positive light.

Last month Parsons Design College in New York had booked the once most revered designer in the fashion world, to instruct a workshop called “Show Me Emotion.” His appointment to this position drew complaints from students, stating the school should not employ someone who had been convicted of a hate crime.

According to New York Magazine, who were sent a copy of the email, Galliano’s refusal to partake in an open discussion regarding his career led to the cancellation of this workshop.

The email read: “It was a condition of our agreeing to host Mr Galliano that we also hold a larger forum, which would include frank discussion of his career. Ultimately, an agreement could not be reached with Mr Galliano regarding the details of that forum, and so the program will not move forward.

“While we understand the pressures Mr Galliano faces, we expected to invite students, faculty and staff to ask Mr Galliano how his trajectory as a designer was changed by his offensive remarks and to learn from that example. We continue to believe there is room at Parsons to explore Mr Galliano’s efforts to make amends for his actions and that members of our community will decide for themselves how to view his contributions. It is certain this would not have been an easy or comfortable conversation but our mission is to provide uncommon learning opportunities that transcend the boundaries of the disciplines. We apologise to those students who anticipated participating in the workshop and to all those who looked forward to engaging Mr Galliano in discussion.”

Veteran fashion journalist Suzy Menkes believes that John Galliano should be given a “second chance”, despite the difficult situation.

“It’s a tragedy,” she commented of the anti-Semitic comments that Galliano made, which led to his dismissal from Dior. “We know that creative people have all sorts of demons. I would never say that I love Hitler in any shape or form ever, and I don’t know many people who would. That’s not to say that somebody with such brilliant talent shouldn’t be given some kind of second chance. But how you do that is difficult.”

Before cancelling the class, Parsons said they believed Galliano “has demonstrated a serious intent to make amends for his past actions”.

This discussion would have been the ideal platform for Galliano to take responsibility for his mistake, clearing his name in the public eye. It is never easy to admit fault and move on, but his actions and remarks will forever haunt him until he openly faces the public. We all make mistakes. Is it time to forgive Galliano?

Pooja Sahny

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