Galliano says he ‘didn’t mean’ anti-Semitic remarks

(JTA) — Fashion designer John Galliano offered his regrets for the anti-Semitic remarks he made at a Paris bar.

“It’s the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn’t mean it,” Galliano said in an interview with Vanity Fair published Wednesday on its website for the July issue.

He also said, “I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realize I was so f***ing angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could.”

Galliano was fired as the top designer at Christian Dior two years ago after being arrested for making the statements in March 2011.

The interview was being billed by the magazine as his “first sober interview.”

Galliano, a British national, blamed his outbursts on addictions to drugs and alcohol. He was filmed at the bar stating his love for Adolf Hitler and told people he believed to be Jewish that their mothers should have been gassed. He later apologized.

He told Vanity Fair that he has tried to atone for his actions, in part by reading books on the Holocaust and Jewish history, and meeting with Jewish leaders.

Galliano said he is “grateful” for his anti-Semitic outburst because he has learned more about himself and “re-discovered that little boy who had the hunger to create, which I think I had lost. I am alive.”

He says he has been sober for two years after entering an Arizona rehabilitation facility in March 2011.

In May, Parsons The New School For Design reversed its decision to bring in Galliano to teach a class after being presented a petition against his hiring with 2,000 signatures, the Forward reported, noting that the protest was led by Jewish students.

In May, Moran Mazor, Israel’s contestant in the international Eurovision music contest, was barred by the Israel Broadcasting Authority from wearing a dress designed by Galliano. The authority sponsors the Israeli contestant and broadcasts the competition.

SPONSORED TRIBUTES: Click here to read appreciations of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.