I think we can all be accused of saying things we regret, whether in anger or under the influence, but few have had their lives so utterly changed by it as that of John Galliano, a genius of fashion, lauded only months ago by Hollywood stars and socialite princesses.
This week, the ex-creative head of Dior, has been to court to answer charges relating to an incident last February, when he sat in a cafe in the Marais district of Paris and allegedly insulted a fellow patron, calling her "ugly" and using remarks deemed to be anti-Semitic, although two witnesses have said they did not hear any reference to Jews. Unfortunately, in another separate incident which was recorded, he is heard to declare his love of Hitler.
He has said he cannot recall the first incident "very well" and has blamed his behaviour on his addiction to various drugs. It does appear that despite his success, he was under enormous stress and the quick manner in which he was fired by Dior suggests he was having difficulties with the fashion house bosses, who may have grown tired of his eccentric behaviour.
Can we forgive offensive remarks said in the heat of the moment, or under the influence? Can anti-Semitic, or, in fact, any kind of racist, homophobic comments be brushed aside at such times? A celebrity hairdresser in London blamed his drinking for using the N-word several times to a black broadcaster. He protested that he was not "a racist" but it was the drink that made him do it. Is that forgivable?
I think I would have difficulty if one of my friends used derogatory language about any race, just because they were stressed or drunk, without thinking that deep down that was really their views. It appears that the fashion world is waiting to see what the court decision is before condemning one of their own. But meanwhile...they are staying well away from Galliano. The celebrity hairdresser has had his TV show dropped.