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John Galliano’s Parsons Workshop Was Canceled

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In a statement released yesterday, Parsons The New School for Design said it was canceling a planned undergraduate master class taught by former Dior designer, John Galliano

"An important element of the planned workshop with John Galliano was a candid conversation about the connection between his professional work and his actions in the world at large. Unfortunately, we could not reach consensus with Mr. Galliano on the conditions of this conversation, and the program could not move forward.”

Galliano was fired from his position at Dior as well as his eponymous line (both are owned by French luxury holding company LVMH) in 2011, after a video leaked online showing the designer making a series of offensive racist and anti-Semitic statements while drunk at a Paris cafe. He was later found guilty of hate speech in French court and stripped of his Legion of Honour medal. 

After some speculation that he would ease back into public life by taking a teaching post at a top design program, Parsons announced he would be leading a workshop. Despite consistent support from leaders in the fashion industry, reactions were mixed and a petition protesting the assignment appeared online within a few days. (When we first broke the news that Parsons students were circulating the petition, it had only 160 signatures; it has since racked up over 2,000.)

As I've previously written, in the mid-20th century, The New School was a haven for Jewish academics and writers fleeing the Nazi regime in Europe, making Galliano's now-void teaching position seem troubling. Parsons is no longer in the cards, which may be the best thing for everyone, but it's clear that the former designer won't rest until he finds a way to establish a new professional life. But for that, he'll need to do what he was unwilling to do at Parsons: talk about his past mistakes.