Speaking only for myself: I do find racist comments offensive. I give latitude sometimes when there is evidence of some sort of mental feebleness, but that does not make the comments any less offensive or more correct to speak aloud. It simply makes the repercussions of such comments or penalties for such comments less severe, in my mind...
With reference to my grandfather's comments, we always made sure he knew we didn't like the comments but I think that in his state of mind he found that a challenge to make more of 'em. (either he was a surly old curmudgeon or he lacked the critical thinking skills to keep quiet.) That is the parallel I make with JPG... if he IS getting senile we certainly don't have to agree with him and can tell him so, but we don't have to castigate the fellow if his mental faculties are failing him.
And... with reference to places in the world where freedom of speech is embraced: Just because you have the right to say such things doesn't mean that you should and does not mean that such comments are right, nice, or in any way correct.
It is not as simple as "right and wrong" sometimes though. That's the point. If I get old and feeble and don't have the capability of censoring what I'm thinking and saying, I am sure that those around me will cut me some slack...(before they set me out to feed the bears, that is!) though I doubt I'll ever say those sorts of things, it's not who I am now and hopefully will never be. It's not part of my experience... but it might just be, and from what folks have said about JPG, part of HIS life experience.
Defending racism is NOT my intent here (nor did I think anyone was saying that to me)... but a discussion of how age effects the mental state of a guy like JPG is.
Oh... and as far as boycotting Guerlain because of it... if that's what anyone wants to do, that's their decision and really none of my business.