Dutch broadcaster decries Eurovision decision to ban its contestant | Eurovision 2024

The Dutch broadcaster who sent the country’s entry to Eurovision has said the decision to disqualify its contestant from the song contest just hours before the start of tonight’s grand final was “disproportionate”.

Dutch singer and rapper Joost Klein was excluded from the main show due to an incident involving a female member of the production crew, the competition’s organisers announced earlier in the day.

Klein, 26, had qualified for the contest’s main event but was absent from Friday’s dress rehearsals.

It is the first time in Eurovision’s 68-year history that a contestant has been disqualified after the start of the five-day event.

“Swedish police have investigated a complaint made by a female member of the production crew after an incident following his [Klein’s] performance in Thursday night’s semi-final,” Eurovision’s organisers said in a statement.

“While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the contest. We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our event and are committed to providing a safe and secure environment.”

The organisers said the incident did not involve any other performers or delegation members.

However, Dutch broadcaster Avrotros said it was “shocked” by the decision to boot Klein from the show, since he had merely made a “threatening move” towards a camerawoman but not touched her.

“Against the clearly made agreement, Joost was filmed when he had just gotten off stage and had to rush to the green room. At that moment, Joost repeatedly indicated that he did not want to be filmed. This wasn’t respected.”

According to the broadcaster, it offered “several solutions” to the EBU, which decided to disqualify Klein anyway.

Swedish police told the German magazine Der Spiegel that the incident they were investigating had not involved “physical or sexualised violence”.

Friction between Klein and Israel’s delegation at a press conference on Thursday night had fuelled speculation that the incident that led to his absence was of a political nature.

When Klein, who was due to perform just before Israel’s contestant, Eden Golan, on Saturday night, was asked if his entry Europapa could live up to the competition’s motto, “United by music”, he said: “I think that’s a good question for the EBU.”

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In March, the association of broadcasters ruled that Israel was allowed to compete as long as it changed the lyrics to its entry, then called October Rain, about the trauma of the Hamas massacre on 7 October.

The EBU has defended its decision by saying Eurovision is “a non-political music event” and “not a contest between governments”.

When another journalist asked Golan if she had considered whether her presence at the contest might be endangering the other acts and the attending fans, the host intervened to say she did not have to answer the question if she did not want to. Klein, who sat next to her, interjected with: “Why not?”

Israeli singer Eden Golan says Eurovision is ‘safe for everyone’ – video

Europapa, a pop hymn to European free movement wrapped into a story of parental loss, had received strong applause at the semi-final and was seen as one of the frontrunners to win Eurovision’s 68th edition.

In 1974, France withdrew its entry after President Georges Pompidou died in the week of the contest, but it did so before the singer Dani had appeared on stage.

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