The collegial spirit between Parsons and John Galliano has devolved into a bad education for all. Last month, the fashion school announced that the disgraced designer would be teaching a three-day master class, an apparent attempt to help in Galliano’s comeback since his infamous anti-Semitic remarks in 2011.
Today, however, things took a turn for the worse when Parsons issued the following statement: An important element of the planned workshop with John Galliano was a candid conversation about the connection between his professional work and his actions in the world at large. Unfortunately, we could not reach a consensus with Mr. Galliano on the conditions of this conversation, and the program could not move forward.”
Students learned of this development last night, when they received an email from David E. Van Zandt, president of The New School, to which Parsons belongs. “A critical element of a New School education is the connection between creative and intellection invention and an individual’s actions in the world at large. While we understand the pressures that Mr. Galliano faces, we expected to invite students, faculty and staff to ask Mr. Galliano how his trajectory as a designer was changed by his offensive remarks and to learn from that example. We continue to believe there is room at Parsons to explore Mr. Galliano’s efforts to make amends for his actions,” he wrote. “It is certain this would not have been an easy or comfortable conversation but our mission is to provide uncommon learning opportunities…Over the last several weeks, many members of the university community wrote to express their views about this visit. Regardless of your opinion, you remind us all that it is our commitment to debate, and our willingness to support the possibility of change, that makes Parsons and The New School such an extraordinary place to learn.”
It’s unclear if the split was the result of an anonymous online petition at Change.org, which asserted that “hiring someone who has made such horrific comments shows that the school values Galliano over their entire Jewish student body.”
But hey, he’s got some pieces in the Met’s punk show, so it seems his comeback isn’t completely out of the picture.