Stephane Zerbib is not the most popular Jew in France right now. He's represented disgraced designer John Galliano for seven years, and will see him through his public slander trial for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks in a fight with a couple at a Paris café. For this, he is now fielding death threats.
"Some people call me anonymously, swear at me," he says. "There are always those people who make a fuss but it's very easy to judge without knowing the case."
Zerbib elaborated on what that case was to Y-Net News:
Your client is accused of making rather harsh anti-Semitic comments. What is your explanation for this?
"I have no explanation. It could happen to any one of us. Anyone can go to a bar, drink a little and get into a fight with someone."
So alcohol is to blame?
"It’s alcohol mixed with medications. You're very vulnerable when you're in this state. People who don’t know the case can afford to say things and they all have opinions. It's easy to talk, criticize, be appalled. But these people don't know what really happened."
Sounds like this trial is going to get dragged out into a big "he said, she said" in the manner of so many drunken brawls on Jersey Shore or the Real Housewives series. Zerbib says he believes that Galliano did not make anti-Semitic comments during the fight, of course. As for the video footage of Galliano saying he loves Hitler, which seemed to have been what prompted Dior to fire him, Zerbib says, "Of course it's appalling. But then you realize it's not in the trial for a reason. Let's just say that today this video is worth nothing." Well, he probably wouldn't have to convince very many fashion people of that. In defense of Galliano's character, Zerbib offers:
"His collections have always been about tolerance, openness, love and mutual respect. He even did a show inspired by the homeless to remind us of the creativity of those struggling to make it with little financial means."
Galliano's Jewish lawyer [Y-Net News]