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John Galliano Apologizes for Outburst, Will Stand Trial in Paris

Galliano Runway 640

John Galliano (Reuters)

As Paris prosecutors prepared to file charges against John Galliano  for his anti-Semitic remarks, the embattled British designer issued a public apology Wednesday for the outburst.

"I completely deny the claims made against me and have fully co-operated with the police investigation," the British designer said, after his arrest in Paris on Thursday on allegations of assault and making anti-Semitic remarks.

He added: "Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologize for my behavior in causing any offense."

Prosecutors said Wednesday he would stand trial over the comments.

Galliano, 50, was briefly detained during the past week after he allegedly launched into an alcohol-fueled anti-Semitic rant at a couple in Paris' La Perle cafe. In a separate complaint, a woman claimed that Galliano abused her in a similar manner at the same cafe in October 2010.

Earlier this week, the U.K. Sun released a video of Galliano saying “I love Hitler.”

But the designer defended himself Wednesday,  saying that he was "subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing" during the altercation in a Parisian bar last week.”

In a statement issued by London law firm Harbottle & Lewis, Galliano said: "Since the events of last Thursday evening I have not been able to make any public comment on what took place based upon advice from my French lawyer.

"However, given the continuing delays at the French prosecutor's office I should make my position clear."

Denying the claims against him, he confirmed he would be taking legal action against his accusers and said they had verbally harassed him.

"A number of independent witnesses have given evidence and have told the police that I was subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing," he said.

"For these reasons I have commenced proceedings for defamation and the threats made against me."

The designer continued: "However, I fully accept that the accusations made against me have greatly shocked and upset people.

"I must take responsibility for the circumstances in which I found myself and for allowing myself to be seen to be behaving in the worst possible light.

"I only have myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures and that I must work hard to gain people's understanding and compassion."

Gibraltar-born Galliano added: "I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, having been subjected to it myself."

The accusations and video prompted Dior to condemn his comments Tuesday.

"I condemn with the greatest firmness the comments made by John Galliano, in total contradiction with the essential values which have always been defended by Christian Dior," chief executive Sidney Toledano said.

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, a spokeswoman for one of Dior’s perfumes, said she would not be “associated with Mr. Galliano in any way” and that she was “shocked” and “disgusted” by his comments.

The Associated Press and NewsCore contributed to this report.

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