John Galliano Suspended by Dior After Alleged Café Spat

02/25/2011 at 11:20 AM EST

John Galliano Investigated for Racial Slurs
John Galliano
Designer John Galliano has been placed on suspension by the House of Dior, as police investigate claims that he verbally assaulted a couple in a Paris bar with racial and religious slurs.

"The House of Dior declares with the greatest firmness its policy of zero tolerance with regard to any anti-Semitic or racist statement or attitude," Dior boss Sidney Toledano said in a statement, reports the Associated Press. "Pending the outcome of the [police] enquiry, Christian Dior has suspended John Galliano from all duties."

Police reportedly detained Galliano, 50, for a brief time Thursday night in the French capital's fashionable Marais district after he allegedly verbally accosted a couple in a bar called The Pearl. Reports conflict as to whether the couple first approached Galliano, or the other way around.

The designer's lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, told the Agence France Presse that the Gibraltar-born, English-raised Galliano "formally denies the accusations of anti-Semitism made against him ... [He] is not at all in this state of mind [and] will explain later." Zerbib also said that "legal action will be taken against those making such accusations."

As Dior's chief designer since 1999, Galliano was scheduled to present his latest ready-to-wear collection for the house next Friday, followed two days later by his own John Galliano clothing line, as part of Paris Fashion Week.

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