“Jew-bash designer” John Galliano has suffered mightily for the semi-coherent anti-Semitic rant he went on one fateful night in France. He was fired from his job at Dior, fined $8,400, and mocked all over the world. (To be clear, I agree that mockery is an appropriate response to hate speech.) But since then, he’s gone to rehab and apologized repeatedly to all the people he offended. So why, then, with his comeback seemingly close at hand, would he suddenly decide to dig the hole deeper by dressing up like a Hasidic Jew at New York Fashion Week?

Answer: he didn’t. But The New York Post thinks it will sell papers to say that he did. Should you have the misfortune of opening up a copy of this neoconservative birdcage lining today, you will see a ridiculously inflammatory article attempting to say that Galliano is  “mocking the faithful” with his outfit. Prominent Jewish leaders are quoted!

However, as many people were quick to point out, while the particular angle and cropping of the picture make him look a lot like Hasidic Jews probably look to Rupert Murdoch, Galliano is not, in fact, dressed in Hasidic garb, but in his usual, dandyish look. (Even with the cropping, you can see that all of his hair is in ringlets; he doesn’t just have a payos-like two in front.) You know you’ve really fucked up your anti-Semitism charge when the ADL is debunking it. Writes Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director:

The New York Post story is a ridiculous, absurd distortion.  There is no truth to their accusation that John Galliano was dressed in Hasidic garb, and anyone familiar with the dress of traditional Orthodox Jews should not mistake what Galliano is wearing in the photograph as “Hasidic garb.”  Hasidim do not wear fedora hats, pinstripe pants, blue jackets or an ascot tie.

This is John Galliano being John Galliano.  His dress is always eccentric and his hair is always worn long.  This is, at the very least, ignorance on the part of the reporters and editors at the Post, or, at worst, a deliberate, malicious distortion in an effort to sell newspapers.

For the past year and a half, Mr. Galliano has been on a pilgrimage to learn from and grow from his mistakes.  Now people are trying to distort and destroy him.  He has spent hours with me and with others in the European Jewish community, including rabbis and Holocaust scholars, in an effort to better understand himself and to learn from his past mistakes.  He is trying very hard to atone.

John Galliano is not racist for wearing a hat and curly hair. The New York Post, on the other hand, printed an intentionally manufactured controversy in the hopes of pissing off religious people who have no background on what John Galliano normally looks like or the conditions surrounding his crimes and subsequent atonement. Who’s the racist now?

I know the Post is not known for its balanced reporting or cultural sensitivity, but this seems worse than usual, somehow. And I say that as a Jewish person who flinches instinctually when people say things like “I love Hitler,” whether it’s because they actually love Hitler, are experiencing some kind of drug-induced psychosis, or just want attention.

(Via The Cut)

Photo: The New York Post