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John Galliano on Charlie Rose: “I’m Not An Anti-Semite and I’m Not a Racist.” [Watch]

John Galliano on Charlie Rose

Image: Screenshot

John Galliano's full hour-long interview with Charlie Rose taped yesterday, and is already up online. Rose prefaced the conversation by playing the video that cost Galliano his job at Dior and sent him into rehab — it showed the designer going on a drunken, racist and anti-Semitic tirade late at night at a Paris cafe. The interviewer noted that he was asked to do the interview (as we learned this week, it was at the request of Rose's good friend, Oscar de la Renta), before explaining his approach and condemning, in strong terms, Galliano's original remarks:

"We talk to John Galliano tonight about what made a man of his distinction, in a moment of fury, use some of the most vile, anti-Semitic, racist language one could use. How does one go from the top to the bottom by one's own actions. And what does it take to recover, personally. This conversation is not about rehabilitation or persecution, it is understanding why. It is about accountability and responsibility. It is about great creativity and troubling addiction. And it is about John Galliano, who came from Gibraltar to London to Paris to New York and he took over the world of fashion, only to fall at his own hand."

Rose pressed Galliano on the subjects of addiction, atonement and his downward spiral. 

When asked if his creativity was somehow tied to mental instablity and subsequent addiction, Galliano answered in the negative:

"In the early days, I was incredibly creative and productive. I loved the research trips, I loved the creation, finding technical solutions to creative challenges. I didn't need alcohol and the pills for that." 

What changed?

"What changed was … I was afraid to say 'No,' that little word, N-O, because I thought it showed weakness. And with more and more success, I would just say 'Yes' and take more work on. Which took its toll."

Which is why you're sitting here today, explaining the fall. 

"'Explaining the fall'… I am so grateful that I am alive, not for what happened but as a result of what happened, I have been able to spend some time on myself, understand these emotions that I couldn't express. The difference between emotions and feelings and how I could change that. Before I would be upset or angry and it would go on for four days or five days. And now I know, I can change that. …

I was emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally bankrupt. I didn't know it, but I had a very big breakdown."

How did Galliano feel when he heard about Alexander McQueen's suicide?

"I knew Alexander. I knew Lee. I understood." 

What did you understand?

"That loneliness. That pain. As addicts, we're in such a perfection, we're setting the bar impossibly high. And people are like, 'Wow, how are you going to top that?' And we're like, 'Well yeah. we're going to, don't worry.' [Unclear] I was very sad."

Towards the end of the video, Rose asked Galliano to address his remarks directly, and apologize for them:

You recognize that what you said was hateful, vile, anti-Semitic. You do?

"Yes."

And you apologize to everybody. For the sight of those words, for the sound of those words?

"I do. I apologize and I am trying to make amends. In the best way that I can." 

Later on, Rose asks Galliano for some final words:

What do you want people to understand about you today?

"I'm not an anti-semite and I'm not a racist. I know that."

You can watch the full interview here.

Previously:

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