Home » Eurovision axes Dutch entry Joost Klein after controversy over ‘incident’

Eurovision axes Dutch entry Joost Klein after controversy over ‘incident’

Eurovision has kicked out the Netherlands’ entrant following a controversy over an ‘incident’ he was involved in.

Joost Klein was alleged to have made verbal threats to a female production worker at the event’s venue in Malmo, Sweden, on Thursday night.

Eurovision organisers quashed widespread rumours that it was linked to Israel’s delegation, saying: “We would like to make it clear that, contrary to some media reports and social media speculation, this incident did not involve any other performer or delegation member.

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Israel’s entrant, Eden Golan, in the semi-finals. Pic: Reuters

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said: “We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our event and are committed to providing a safe and secure working environment for all staff at the contest.

“In light of this, Joost Klein’s behaviour towards a team member is deemed in breach of contest rules.”

Klein had failed to perform at two dress rehearsals on Friday, as the EBU said it was investigating an “incident.”

Protesters take part in the Stop Israel demonstration in Malmo, Sweden, Thursday, May 9, 2024. Several protests are expected against Israel's participation in the 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the Malmo Arena. (Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency via AP)
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A Stop Israel demonstration in Malmo. Pic: AP

Around 180 million people around the world will watch 25 entrants slug it out in tonight’s final, with Croatia and Switzerland among those tipped to take the trophy, ahead of UK entry Olly Alexander, with his track Dizzy, and Ireland’s Bambie Thug.

Klein had been due to perform his track Europapa, a happy-hardcore inspired song dismissed by one critic as “so bad” it will “put you off music forever”, but which was nonetheless one of the favourites to win.

Protests have dogged the competition over Israel’s inclusion amid the war in Gaza.

There are more pro-Palestinian protests planned in Malmo to coincide with the Eurovision grand final, amid the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Police estimated more than 10,000 people took part in a march on Thursday.

Over the last few months, there have been demonstrations and calls for acts to boycott the show, after the EBU refused to remove Israel from the competition, insisting it had broken no broadcasting rules.

On Thursday, 10,000-12,000 people, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, took to the streets of the city to call for Israel to be excluded.

Ms Thunberg, 21, claimed Israel is trying to “artwash” Eurovision, referencing the use of artistic performance to distract from perceived negative actions by people, groups, governments or countries.

“The world cannot remain silent in a genocide,” she said on X.

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At a news conference the same day, Klein covered his head while Golan was speaking to reporters and shouted “why not” when the moderator told her she didn’t have to answer a journalist’s question.