French parfumier Jean-Paul Guerlain fined over racist remarks

Jean-Paul Guerlain was fined for racist remarks he made during a French television interview.

Story highlights

  • Guerlain is told to pay $2,665 to each of three anti-racism groups that brought the case
  • Jean-Paul Guerlain is also fined $8,000 by a court in Paris for making a racist remark
  • He used a racial slur twice during a French television interview in 2010
  • He is no longer connected with the company that bears his name
French perfume designer Jean-Paul Guerlain was fined 6,000 euros ($8,000) Thursday by a Paris court for racist remarks he made during a French television interview.
He was also ordered to pay 2,000 euros ($2,665 ) to each of three French anti-racism groups that brought the case.
Guerlain was found guilty before Judge Anne Marie Sauteraud of making a racial insult, under a law dating back more than a century.
Guerlain -- who is no longer connected with the company that bears his name -- uttered a racial slur twice during an October 2010 interview on France 2 about his career and the making of the Samsara perfume.
The racial epithet was used as he was describing how he was inspired to create the perfume while trying to impress a woman.
"One day I told her -- and I still called her Madame -- 'What would seduce you if one was to make a perfume for you?' and she told me, 'I love jasmine, rose and sandalwood,'" Guerlain recalled. "And for once I started working like a (racial epithet). I don't know if (racial epithet) ever worked that hard," he said.
He subsequently apologized for the remarks, which prompted protests outside the Guerlain boutique in Paris.
Guerlain, which is now part of the empire of luxury goods giant LVMH, was a family firm for five generations, was founded in Paris in 1828 by Pierre Francois Pascal Guerlain.
Jean-Paul Guerlain, born in 1937, is now retired.