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Noah Forrest

By Noah Forrest

John Galliano and Other Anti-Semites

As someone who was raised Jewish, I was appalled and offended by the vile and idiotic anti-Semitic remarks spewed by John Galliano.  If you’re not familiar with the story, just Google it, but basically he said “I love Hitler” and various other comments that re-affirmed my opinion of him as a Mensa candidate.  After these remarks came to light, Galliano was fired from his position as the head designer of Dior.  To put it in film terms, this is the equivalent of Peter Jackson being fired from the latest Hobbit movie.  It’s a big deal in the fashion community and my friends who work in that industry are still in shock.

The weird thing is that I don’t think he should be banished forever for his hateful rhetoric, just as I don’t think Charlie Sheen should be fired for being awesome or that Mel Gibson should be denied work because of his own racist and anti-Semitic remarks.  The bottom line is that there are always going to bigoted people out there, but that doesn’t make those people any less brilliant at their particular vocation.  John Galliano being an anti-Semite doesn’t make him any less talented as a designer.  I think the choice should be up to the consumer as to whether or not they can compartmentalize and choose to wear his clothes whilst knowing he is prejudiced.  Natalie Portman has bravely made her feelings known loud and clear (and seriously, kudos to her for having the balls to speak out about it), but not everyone may feel that way.  The hire-ups at Dior clearly felt that sales would go down because of Galliano’s actions and it’s perfectly understandable that they would seek out this change.

Look, I think Mel Gibson is a hell of an actor.  I think he’s charismatic, charming and I really love watching him in movies.  His being an anti-Semite doesn’t change the way I feel about him as an actor, but it sure doesn’t make me want to hang out with him.  Just as John Galliano being an anti-Semite has nothing to do with the clothes he designs (unless he’s trying to bring back the swastika).  These people are scumbags and assholes and morons, but they are also savants.  I want them to continue creating their art and I want to never have to interact with them, for fear that I might punch them in the face.

As a person who opposes intolerance in any form, I can’t deny that Galliano’s firing felt good, that justice had been served.  But so many great artists have been racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and it would be a shame if we denied them an opportunity to create their art simply because they have idiotic opinions.  Richard Wagner was anti-Semitic, so am I supposed to not listen to his music?  I can’t even count how many brilliant Southern writers were racist, am I supposed to not read the works of O’Connor or read Styron’s Confessions of Nat Turner?

The point, ultimately, is that intolerance should not be tolerated.  I refuse to accept a work of art that is inherently racist prejudiced, but I can differentiate between the art and the artist.  And while the artist might be a racist, as long as there isn’t a sign of it in the work, then what?

I don’t want to be seen as defending Galliano for his behavior, which is absolutely unacceptable, but I don’t see what it has to do with him as a clothing designer.  Good riddance, I’m glad he’s suffering and all that, and considering the fact that sales might dwindle, I understand (and even rooted for) his dismissal from Dior.  I hope he is punished to the fullest extent of the law.  I also hope he has a chance to design clothes again in the future, just as I hope to see Mel Gibson on a movie screen.

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17 Responses to “John Galliano and Other Anti-Semites”

  1. Joe Sav says:

    I agree he shouldn’t be banned from fashion entirely, just as Gibson shouldn’t be banned from the film industry, HOWEVER I have NO PROBLEM at all with people refusing to work/associate with him on an individual basis. Dior fired him, fine, he can go get a job somewhere else. Or, maybe he can’t. Not their problem. The fashion Gods didn’t ban him from the fashion world entirely, but if NOBODY wants to hire him after this, so be it. Mel Gibson isn’t ban from filmmaking, but if NO studio is going to back him, so be it.

    The real bottom line is that this guy screwed up, and he got fired. That’s fair. Nobody is preventing him from obtaining gainful employment of any sort elsewhere, except maybe himself through his own actions.

  2. Alex says:

    I don’t advocate firing him as punishment. But if I ran a corporation, I wouldn’t want him as the face of a product line. And as head designer, he makes many hiring/firing decisions. Do I want someone this horribly biased controlling the careers of models or assistants?

  3. Bailey says:


  4. Bailey says:


  5. Marshall says:


  6. t bone says:

    I would have loved to read those deleted comments. Isn’t that considered censorship? Wheres the freedom of speech in that?
    It seems like you cant say ‘boo’ these days without someone crying ‘anti-semitism’!
    Enough already.
    I can see that this thread is very one-sided.

  7. Noah Forrest says:

    Sorry, T-Bone, I just don’t think that someone calling me a “cross-dressing fag” was really adding to the discourse. Nor do I believe that someone bringing up my Jewish upbringing as a sign that I was spawned from the devil was really advancing the discussion. I believe in hearing dissenting opinions, I don’t believe in someone spouting anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric.

    I said in the blog post that intolerance is intolerable and I stand by that. I don’t believe in censorship and if someone wants to disagree in a civil manner or argue passionately, then I welcome that. But name-calling doesn’t really do anything and I would hope my readers would be more intelligent than to resort to that.

  8. James says:

    The problem my ancestors made in the past was that they only expelled the EDOMITE jewzzzz. Next time. Oh boy. You jewzzzzz have it coming.

    There’s only one solution to this problem and this time, it must be permanent.

  9. LillyWest says:

    Well Noah it is your tribe that pushed
    and promoted homosexuality on the masses
    Almost all homosexual groups have either
    a Jew founder and or running and organization
    to promote filth and in some cases pedophilia!

    Now your tribes “little” creation is turning
    on its masters, you must be proud, no?

  10. JKill says:

    Considering homosexuality predates Judiasm and was probably around at the dawn of man (from evolution no less!), I think you’re slightly off the mark LillyWest. As you’re no doubt a great, patriotic fan of democracy, I think you may also like to know that many of those philosphers that, in fact, created ideas like a republic and democracy, which produced the free speech that you are cowardly trying to hide behind with your hate, were (say it isn’t so) gay.

    But LillyWest, I expect that’s outside the wheelhouse of your reading material, which probably includes the occasional John Birch soceity reader. May you and your anti-semetic, homophobic, sub-moronic brethren rot in hell (although that probably doesn’t exist!). Since this is a movie website, I’ll say that I wish the Inglorious Basterds were real, and that Lt. Aldo Raine and Donny Donnowitz would pay you a visit.

    It’s honestly disgusting that you and people, if that’s the right term, like you still exist in the year 2011, although your hateful opinions are dying, and you, yourselves, apparently are very, very dead inside already.

    Oh, and fuck you.

  11. Daniella Isaacs says:

    Noah, just so you know. Not all the people who read your entries are racist/homophobic nuts. I agree with Joe that people have some latitude about who they employ/work with, though. Most job contracts have some sort of clause about an employee doing something outrageous that would embarrass the company/organization being grounds for dismissal. I know mine does.

  12. Noah Forrest says:

    JKill and Daniella, thank you for your posts. It’s good to know that some people around here are rational and not filled with hatred. But hey, when you write about these topics, you gotta expect the crazies to come out of the woodwork.

  13. yancyskancy says:

    What kind of idiot looks at this story and thinks, “Aha, now the homosexuals are turning on the Jews. How ironic.” Whenever I read the kind of bile spewed by LillyWest and James, I can only hope it’s misguided “edgy” humor rather than the hateful idiocy it appears to be. James, there’s a quicker, simpler but equally permanent solution to your problem, if you have access to a bottle of sleeping pills, or perhaps a tall building. Just try not to land on any God-fearing racists. Talk about irony. (The above suggestion is an attempt at edgy humor and is not intended as actual advice for James — after all, as long as he’s alive, there’s always hope that he can learn to be a good person.)

    Noah, I’m not sure about O’Connor — looks like a complicated case — but despite certain reactions to “Nat Turner,” it doesn’t seem likely that Styron was racist. Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin stood up for him; others seem to have misinterpreted his intentions.

  14. Noah Forrest says:

    Yancy, that was actually pretty funny. Unfortunately, I don’t think James or LillyWest were trying to be humorous, which makes it even more depressing that people like them exist, filled with so much hatred that they need to spew it out all over the internet.

    As for O’Connor, people make excuses for her racism because she was a product of her upbringing in the south. It doesn’t make her any less of a brilliant writer – in fact, she’s one of my favorites – and I don’t think there’s a lot of racism in her work, but she was by all accounts, prejudiced in her private life.

    As for Nat Turner, while Ellison and Baldwin defended Styron, an entire book was written to rebuke Sytron’s novel. It’s a beautifully written book, but it’s hard to look at a passage that details Nat Turner wanting to rape a white woman. While I don’t think Styron’s intentions were racist, I think he was a bit misguided and the book is – in a way – a gorgeous failure. I don’t think he was an actual racist, I just think he accidentally approached racism in the text. But there are differing views there.

  15. JKill says:

    Another writer where the divide between the artist’s work and the artist himself, is troubling, is Jack London. I think some of his work is really quite beautiful, but if you watch Ken Burns’s Jack Johnson movie there are excerpts from some of his journalism at the time that are really, really hard to forget and ignore. It’s a difficult subject but being able to seperate the art from the artist is important to appreciate a lot of talented, if horribly troubled, individuals.

  16. cadavra says:

    There were few bigger anti-Semites in Hollywood than Howard Hawks. Yet I continue to adore his movies, even knowing that had I ever met him, he would not have liked me from the get-go. Talk about mixed feelings.

    And no, James and Lilly are not being funny. Check out the “Hate Mail-a-Palooza” every Saturday on DailyKos. It’s astounding the kind of insane–and astonishingly illiterate–hatred that’s out there; Markos is repeatedly called a “jew faggot” even though he is neither.

  17. The Pope says:

    Jesus wept.

    Sorry, I have been traveling these last few days so I am coming late to this issue. I don’t know whether it is safer that we know such closed minds are breading, or whether we should try and either educate or silence (by which I mean, limit their media oxygen). Although it saddens me to read and hear such squalid minds, I think it the lesser of two evils. At least that way, when it occurs we can use it to inform our kids/students etc. Rather like the flat earth society, we can point out the lunacy and say “see, that exists and we must rise above it and leave the world a better place than we found it.”

    Jesus wept.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon