Police escorted Galliano from a Paris bar where he apparently made the anti-Semitic remarks [Reuters]

British fashion designer John Galliano has been fired by the French label Christian Dior after video showing him spouting "I love Hitler'' in a Paris bar went viral online.

Sidney Toledano, chief executive of Christian Dior, said on Tuesday that the "odious nature" of Galliano's behaviour on the video led Dior to relieve him of his duties after 15 years as the label's chief designer and just three days before Dior's catwalk show at Paris Fashion Week.

"I very firmly condemn what was said by John Galliano, which totally contradicts the values which have always been defended by Christian Dior," Toledano said in a statement.

The sequence of events surrounding Galliano's departure included an almost Dior-free Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday and prompted Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, who has a deal to promote Dior perfume, to voice her disgust with the British designer.

The incident started on Thursday evening when Paris police said they had been called to La Perle bar in Paris's upmarket Marais district where they found an inebriated Galliano delivering a torrent of abuse to a couple on the bar's terrace.

The officers escorted Galliano to a police station and then home. The couple complained that Galliano had hurled racist and anti-Semitic comments at them, an offence under French law.

A person close to Galliano, who spoke to him by telephone on Tuesday, said he had been struggling to cope for some time with the pressures of his life under the spotlight.

"He knows he's a dead man. It is horribly violent and tragic. I am very pessimistic about his future," she said.

Source: Agencies