03/02/2011 at 01:00 PM EST
Designer John Galliano "unreservedly" apologized Wednesday for his behavior, which included alleged recent racial and anti-Semitic slurs
as well as vile pro-Hitler sentiments expressed in a videotape
dating back to last December.
Later in the day, French prosecutors said Galliano will stand trial for allegedly making anti-Semitic comments in Paris last week. The trial could take place later this year, authorities added.
The incidents involving Galliano's remarks resulted in widespread condemnation
of the Dior chief designer and his being fired from the fashion house
on Tuesday after an initial suspension last week.
In a statement provided by his lawyers on Wednesday, Galliano, 50, said: "Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologize for my behavior in causing any offence."
Galliano also said 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 the Paris café La Perle last week.
"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," said Galliano. "However, given the continuing delays at the French Prosecutor’s Office I should make my position clear ... I completely deny the claims made against me and have fully co-operated with the police investigation."
Because he was allegedly attacked with the chair and verbally assaulted, he says, "I have commenced proceedings for defamation and the threats made against me."
He adds, "However, I fully accept that the accusations made against me have greatly shocked and upset people."
Galliano had been Dior's creative director since 1999. In France, making anti-Semitic remarks is punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $30,000.
Galliano's firing on Tuesday has been a major embarrassment for the French luxury goods firm, and comes just as Fashion Week opens in Paris. Galliano's termination initially put into question whether the house's show would go ahead as planned. Dior has announced it intends to show the designer's collection on Friday as scheduled.
Additional reporting by CHARLOTTE TRIGGSPlease note: Comments have been suspended temporarily as we explore better ways to serve you. Your opinion is important to us; you can find current discussions at facebook.com/peoplemag.