Jean-Paul Guerlain (yes, that Guerlain) is taking some serious heat for using an ugly racial slur not just once but twice during a television interview. The perfumer, who no longer works for the company that bears his name in an official capacity, was discussing the making of his perfume Samsara when he let loose a choice word equivalent to the American N-word. If it weren’t for that, the story would have been quite romantic — Mr. Guerlain created Samsara for 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,'” Mr. 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.
Guerlain has apologized, saying that he ‘vividly’ regrets his unfortunate choice of words, but that pronouncement hasn’t been enough stall groups like SOS-Racisme, a French anti-racism group that plans to file a formal legal complaint against Mr. Guerlain. Even France’s finance minister Christine Laguarde has spoken out against Mr. Guerlain, noting that while he is an older man, he’s words were “truly pathetic.”
Really, there’s nothing more that we can say about the remarks — they’re pretty insensitive and categorically incorrect, considering that the people Mr. Guerlain referred to were worked so hard that many died from exhaustion, to say nothing of the multitudes who died from neglect, preventable diseases or simple unfeeling slaughter.
But don’t feel bad about entering our Guerlain Giveaway — Mr. Guerlain has only been working with the company as a consulting “nose” for perfumes since 2002.
[Note: We do not use the title ‘Mr.’ to show Jean-Paul Guerlain any sympathy or respect, but rather to distinguish him from the company that bears his name.]