After a barrage of complaints and support for a four-day master class with designer John Galliano, Parsons the New School for Design announced on Tuesday that it has officially canceled the workshop.
An email from David E. Van Zandt, the Manhattan school’s president, about the planned workshop – which was to include a discussion about the connection between his professional work and his actions in the world at large – said, “Ultimately, an agreement could not be reached with Mr. Galliano regarding the details of that forum, and so the program will not move forward,” The Cut reported.
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According to the New York Times, Deborah Kirschner, a spokeswoman for Parsons, would not give details on what derailed those plans, or whether the school gave into complaints about Galliano teaching there. However, a source close to the discussions told the New York Times, that Galliano didn’t ask for restrictions on the content of the talks, but rather the size and the makeup of the audience couldn’t be agreed upon between the school and the designer.
The class would have been an opportunity for Galliano to try and restore his reputation after making a tirade of anti-Semitic remarks at a Paris bar two years ago, which led to his dismissal as chief designer at Christian Dior. The outburst later cost him 6,000 euros ($8,400) in fines from a French court, which found him guilty of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity.”
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Zandt, and Tim Marshall, the New School’s provost, said they thought the designer’s tirade – which Galliano attributed to substance abuse, and for which he has since publicly apologized – did not disqualify him from giving valuable lessons to Parsons’ students, according to the Times.
This isn’t the first time Parsons has had a designer lead classes. Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg and Olivier Theyskens have led such classes, which usually involve multiple visits with the designers who critique students and offer informal guidance.
Galliano’s class, entitled “Show Me Emotion” and described as “a dynamic and intimate opportunity for our students to learn from an immensely talented designer,” was announced on April 26 to the Parsons community. Since then, an online petition protesting the designer’s visit attracted more than 2,100 signatures.