By Kate Ward
Updated March 02, 2011 at 05:43 PM EST

Image Credit: Victor Boyko/Getty ImagesFive days after he was suspended by Christian Dior for allegedly verbally assaulting a couple using Anti-Semitic epithets, John Galliano has issued a statement apologizing for the incident. “I must take responsibility for the circumstances in which I found myself and for allowing myself to be seen to be behaving in the worst possible light,” Galliano says in the statement. “I only have myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures and that I must work hard to gain people’s understanding and compassion. To start this process I am seeking help and all I can hope for in time is to address the personal failure which led to these circumstances and try and earn people’s forgiveness.”

The designer, however, also denies the allegations against him in the statement. “I completely deny the claims made against me and have fully co-operated with the Police investigation,” he said. “A number of independent witnesses have given evidence and have told the Police that I was subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing. For these reasons I have commenced proceedings for defamation and the threats made against me. However, I fully accept that the accusations made against me have greatly shocked and upset people.”

The designer also claims he had been following his lawyer’s advice by maintaining his silence about the incident over the last week. Galliano wants to make clear, however, his commitment to tolerance. “I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination having been subjected to it myself,” he said in the statement. “In all my work my inspiration has been to unite people of every race, creed, religion and sexuality by celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity through fashion. That remains my guiding light. Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society. I unreservedly apologise for my behaviour in causing any offence.”

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