John Galliano’s apology tour continued late last week in London, where the controversial designer spoke at a Jewish educational event organized by three area synagogues, The Guardian reported. Galliano, who in February 2011 was filmed in Paris giving an anti-Semitic tirade, and has since worked to rebuild his professional image, took the stage “wearing a smart suit with a lavender tie, his long hair tied back:”
“I am an alcoholic. I am an addict,” he said. “This is in no way an excuse. We alcoholics and we addicts are not responsible for our disease. However, I do take complete responsibility for my recovery and making amends.” He added: “I get a daily reprieve from this disease and that comes from total abstinence.”
Rabbi Barry Marcus of London’s Central Synagogue, who has “played a key role in Galliano’s public rehabilitation, sat next to the designer [and] said that Galliano should be forgiven as an “endless list of celebrities” have also made anti-Semitic remarks:
“That is not the Jewish way,” he said. “We should show a little graciousness.” Marcus told the audience that Galliano was looking for compassion. “I want to talk about forgiveness,” said Marcus. “I am asking because most people, apart from the angels among us, most of us have done something we regret.”
“God is in the driving seat, not me,” said Galliano. “Before it was self will, but now it is God’s will.”
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Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.