Anti-Semitism is out of style at Parsons.
Students at The New School of Design are angrily protesting the schools’ controversial new hire: designer John Galliano, the notorious deliverer of a hateful, pro-Hitler tirade in 2011.
The world-renowned design college has reportedly hired Mr. Galliano to teach a short workshop on “emotion” this May. Upon hearing the news, an anonymous group took to Change.org to start a petition that would block the designer from teaching at the school.
“This is a person who was fired from Dior for his anti-Semitic remarks, who Natalie Portman refused to work with because of his remarks, so why is Parsons The New School for Design hiring him?” the petition demands.
“[Parsons] plans to hire John Galliano for a 3-day workshop,” the petition continues, “It doesn’t matter if its for three months or three days, hiring someone who has made such horrific comments shows that the school values Galliano over their entire Jewish student body. It shows they value him over their students’ respect, peace of mind, and heritage.” The petition later likens the hiring of Mr. Galliano to hiring a member of the KKK.
Supporters of the petition angrily voiced their disgust with Mr. Galliano. Most commenters were students, disgraced and offended that their school would hire an instructor with his track record.
“As president of the Jewish Student Union (the oldest and largest club on-campus), I am shocked that The New School hired John Galliano,” one Jennifer Kaplan commented on the petition’s webpage.
“I find it appalling that a known Anti-Semite like John Galliano could be hired to teach at The New School,” wrote Alex Goldblum, a Parsons alumnus. “I am demanding his immediate termination.”
The petition was supported by Parsons parents, too.
“My in-laws are survivors and lost their parents and many relatives in the Holocaust,” wrote Sally Baerman, whose daughter is a Parsons freshman. “Galliano, who debases himself with anti-Semitism, is NOT an instructor that is worthy of educating students ~ no matter how talented he may be.”
Mr. Galliano made headlines in 2011, when his anti-Semitic rant in a Paris cafe was caught on tape. “I love Hitler,” Mr. Galliano says in the video. “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f—— gassed.” Following his actions, the designer was promptly fired from Christian Dior.
Mr. Galliano made waves again last Fashion Week, when he stepped out in a questionably-offensive outfit that channeled Hasidic Jewish garb.
Still, the school stands by its decision.
“The planned master class with John Galliano will be a dynamic and intimate opportunity for our students to learn from an immensely talented designer,” a statement released by Parsons read.
“We believe that over the past two years Galliano has demonstrated a serious intent to make amends for his past actions, and as part of this workshop, Parsons students will have the opportunity to engage in a frank conversation with Mr. Galliano about the challenges and complications of leading a design house in the 21st century.”
The petition aims to collect 500 signatures. Stay tuned to find out if Mr. Galliano will be permitted to walk the runway, or whether the school will decide he’s simply out of fashion.
Update: An earlier version of this story said the petition was started by an anonymous group of Parsons students started the petition. It is not known whether they are students.