John Galliano sat down with Charlie Rose for his first TV interview in over two years on Wednesday night, and, because the Internet is magic, it's already available to watch online.
I admit, I began watching the interview rolling my eyes. It's not that I don't believe Galliano is really and truly sorry for his anti-Semitic marks, it's just that the whole thing seems so… well, planned. I can't look at the normally extravagant designer in a blue button-down, navy blazer, and simple ponytail without imagining the stylists who spent hours agonizing over this conservative choice. When I hear him claim he doesn't remember saying his hateful comments because he was so blackout drunk (something he also said in his Vanity Fair piece last week), I can only see notecards with talking points, a pushy publicist, and handwritten notes from Anna Wintour to Charlie Rose. It all feels staged, which isn't out of the norm for celebrity apologies, but it does make it a bit difficult to forgive.
There was one moment, however, that made me pause and see only Galliano, not the team behind Operation Apology. When Rose asked Galliano, "When Alexander McQueen committed suicide, what did you think?" I found myself feeling sympathy for the defamed designer. It's a heartbreaking moment to watch, and Galliano appears rattled by the mention of his friend's death. "I understood," he replied. What's especially poignant about this admission is that McQueen took his life a year before Galliano was fired at Dior.
Once again, we're left with the question: Does John Galliano deserve our forgiveness? In order to truly merit it, he needs to prove he has changed. He does appear to be aware of the need for change and seems to have a real desire to change, but does he understand how to change? It's not something that can be answered in Vanity Fair profiles or on Charlie Rose, but only over time.