Guerlain heir convicted of racism

Perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain has been convicted by a French court of of making racist insults on national television and fined him €6,000.

Guerlain, who is 75, is an heir to the Guerlain cosmetics empire.

In a 2010 interview on France-2 television, Guerlain used a French word for black people in a derogatory way as he described how hard he worked to create one of the company’s most famed perfumes.

He apologised to France’s black community during the trial, calling it an “imbecilic” remark.

The judge in the Paris court did not sentence him to any prison time, though the charge could have allowed a sentence of up to six months behind bars.

Several anti-racism groups filed legal complaints after his comments, and protests were staged in front of the Guerlain store on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. Some called for a boycott of Guerlain products.

“I am from another generation,” he said during the trial, so part of the remark was “a common expression at the time.” He also said he did so during a TV interview because he “wanted to make the journalist laugh and I regret it”.

“I was anything but racist,” he said, standing before the court with the help of crutches.

Lawyers for the SOS Racism association said Guerlain abused the national platform he was given.

The company distanced itself from Guerlain, who had retired at 65 but remained a consultant.

Guerlain is the great-great-grandson of the founder of the Guerlain cosmetics company, now owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

LVMH was embarrassed last year when designer John Galliano – who worked for LVMH subsidiary Christian Dior – was convicted of anti-Semitic comments.

More in this Section

Boris Johnson to tell Merkel and Macron there must be new Brexit dealBoris Johnson to tell Merkel and Macron there must be new Brexit deal

Dozens feared dead or wounded after explosion at Kabul wedding hallDozens feared dead or wounded after explosion at Kabul wedding hall

Detectives given extra 36 hours to quiz suspects in death of police officerDetectives given extra 36 hours to quiz suspects in death of police officer

Teenager on murder charge after lawyer stabbed to death in UKTeenager on murder charge after lawyer stabbed to death in UK


Lifestyle

Incarcerated in Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps Zuzana Ruzickova somehow survived and went on to create the complete recordings of her beloved Bach, writes James Lawless.Book review: Nazi horrors replaced by brutal Soviets for piano player

The Menu was delighted to make recent mention of a new UCC postgraduate diploma in Irish food culture and is equally pleased to announce availability of two new bursaries for same.The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

Milky skincare ingredients keep skin fresh and often suit the whole family, it’s moo-vellous, writes Rachel Marie Walsh.Product watch: Milky skincare ingredients for the whole family

George Orwell’s classic novel foretold a lot, but the manner in which we’ve handed over our personal data to faceless corporatocracies is doubleplus-ungood, says Suzanne Harrington.How we sleepwalked into George Orwell’s nightmarish vision

More From The Irish Examiner