The day The Sun got it right

The day The Sun got it right


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2011

Say what you like about Rupert Murdoch’s Currant Bun, but sometimes it nails the issue with unerring precision. Most media today wittered sympathy for the paltry fine let-off awarded to the loudmouth racist. Not The Sun:

Dior havin’ a laugh

£20m Galliano fined £2.64 for racist rants

Racist rant ... John Galliano

By NICK PARKER, Chief Foreign Correspondent, and DAN SALES

Published: Today

DISGRACED Dior designer John Galliano was let off yesterday over his vile anti-Jewish and racist rants.

A French court convicted the 50-year-old fashion guru — caught raging on a Sun video — but ordered him to pay just one euro (88p) to his three victims. That is £2.64 in total.





Galliano, sacked as Dior’s chief designer over the scandal, was convicted of “casting public insults based on origin, religious affiliation or ethnicity” following two ugly incidents in a chic Paris bar.

He could have been jailed for six months and fined £20,000.


  • Mathieu says:

    I am sorry, but you do not get French legal system right. (I am French and a lawyer — but, apart from that, I think of myself as a nice guy). Of course I utterly disapprove of Galliano’s behavior, which is beyond the understanding. But I am sorry to say he was NOT fined £2. 64! Read the sentence!

    He was fined €6000. Since Mr Galliano has no criminal records in France, the judge suspended the sentence (what we call condamner avec sursis). This is of common practice in the French system: when it is your first conviction, and unless the offence is really serious (like you raped someone), the sentence is suspended. The 6 months in prison and the £20.000 fine you talk about is the MAXIMAL sentence (there has to be recidivism)! Besides there were extenuating circumstances. He publicly offered his apologies. So the amount of the fine is by no means scandalous.

    Now, about the £2. 64, it is not a fine! It is damages! (In the French criminal justice system, most often civil action — filed by the alleged victim– and criminal charges are tried during the same trial, and ruled on by the same judge). And it is usual that in cases of what we call “préjudice moral” (“moral tort”, so to say), damages should be symbolic. Why? Because this kind of tort is unquantifiable. And this is the way it is in the French private law system.

    Now I do not quite get the demagogic reasoning which would say that since Mr Galliano is a racist m***f¨***er (which I actually doubt he is. I just think he is a moron, but this is not an axcuse for what he said, of course) he should REALLY, but REALLY pay till kingdom come. But think about it. Suppose that Mr Galliano had been ordered to pay, say, 10 000 euros in damages to each of the plaintiffs, and that this was common practice. Well then anybody with money problems can go to the favorite bar of a notoriously racist cretin and wait to be insulted. Then call the cops and file a suit, and bingo. Since I am half-Lebanese and often mistaken for a Jew (both by Jews and Antisemites), I would soon be rich!

    The important is that Galliano has been convicted. The law has been upheld and enforced. What do you want more?

    Mr Lebrecht, do not take what the Sun says for granted. You cannot endorse the inuendo that the judge has reserved a special treatment to Galiano. Because this kind of accusation is intolerable. It is demagogic. The judge just applied French law, so blame it on French law.

    Apart from that, I am an avid reader of yours.