The expulsion of Joost Klein from the ESC: what happened?

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Written By Maya Cantina

Suddenly he was no longer there. On Friday, artist Joost Klein (26) for the Netherlands did not appear at the dress rehearsals for the ESC final. A day later, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) finally announced its decision: Klein will not perform his song “Europapa”. The final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 will take place without the Netherlands.

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Both the EBU and the Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS have now issued statements on the case and the Swedish police have completed their investigation. Nevertheless, a number of questions in this case remain unresolved.

Did Klein punch his fist?

To qualify for the final, Klein performed during the second semi-final on Thursday evening. But after the performance, on the way to the greenroom, an incident allegedly occurred with a camerawoman from the production team. According to the broadcaster AVROTROS, Klein did not want to be filmed, he repeated this wish several times and finally made a movement towards the camera. In his rack the station wrote that Klein did not touch the woman. However, it is not explained which movement the artist made.

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But the fact is that after the incident the woman turned to the EBU and filed a complaint against Klein, who then passed the case on to the Swedish police. Joost Klein is expected to be charged with illegal threats, police said Monday. The investigation has been completed and a charging decision should be made “within the next few weeks,” spokesman Jimmy Modin told the AP.

The Swedish newspaper “Aftonbladet” published the news on Monday morning that Klein Zweden had now left. Citing an unnamed source, the newspaper reported that the assembled photographers had put pressure on the 26-year-old Klein. He asked her not to take any more pictures. When one of these people approached him, Klein approached them with a raised fist. But according to “Aftonbladet” he did not strike. There is no other source or statement from Klein on this yet. The Malmö daily Sydsvenskan reported that a conviction on charges of threatening behavior usually results in fines.

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A video from ‘Aftonbladet’ also shows a reporter trying to question Klein about the incident. ‘What did the EBU say they were doing?’ the woman asked the artist. But Klein, wearing headphones and sunglasses, remains silent and disappears into an elevator.

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Are there two different versions of the incident?

The organizers explained the decision to disqualify Klein at once rack on Saturday: We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but since this is an ongoing process, it would not be appropriate for Klein to continue competing. “We have a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behavior at our event and are committed to providing a safe working environment for all competition staff,” the EBU said.

The Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS, which took part in the Eurovision Song Contest with Klein, responded the same day with incomprehension and indignation. “We have taken note of the disqualification by the EBU. AVROTROS believes the disqualification is disproportionate and is shocked by this decision. We deeply regret this,” the broadcaster wrote in its statement. The Dutch public broadcaster (NPO) also responded to the incident and filed a complaint with the EBU. In an update to the statement, it was also announced that, together with presenter Nikkie de Jager, the Netherlands decided not to announce the points.

But it seems that AVROTROS and the EBU have different versions of the incident. The EBU indicated this in its statement: “AVROTRO’s version does not correspond to the incidents reported to us and the police,” the organizer explained on Saturday. The question therefore arises as to what exactly AVROTROS knows and whether the broadcaster was presented with the true version of the incident.

Klein’s behavior at the press conference did not play a role

But even though much is unclear in this case, his disqualification has nothing to do with Klein’s criticism of Israel’s participation in the ESC. The artist especially stood out during the press conference after the second semi-final. During the speech by Israeli singer Eden Golan, the Dutch flag was pulled over his head. A discussion then arose, especially on social networks, as to whether people should no longer be allowed to participate in the ESC for this reason. Even during the match there were repeated anti-Isreal protests in Malmö and Angry given during Golan’s performance. But on Saturday the EBU made it clear: this behavior had nothing to do with his disqualification.

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RND/sis/dpa/AP

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