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Dutch Broadcaster Fumes While Fans Express Confusion Over Joost Klein’s Eurovision Exit

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The Dutch public broadcaster expressed strong dissatisfaction after the Netherlands’ representative in the Eurovision Song Contest was unexpectedly removed from the competition just hours before Saturday’s final, following a backstage altercation currently under investigation by Swedish police.

The European Broadcasting Union, responsible for organizing Eurovision, revealed that Swedish authorities were looking into a complaint filed by a female member of the production crew against Joost Klein. Consequently, the Union deemed it inappropriate for Klein to continue participating while the legal inquiry was ongoing.

Klein’s absence at two dress rehearsals in Malmo, Sweden, on Friday had raised concerns among organizers, who mentioned an “incident” under investigation. Despite speculation linking the incident to Israel’s delegation, Eurovision officials clarified that it was unrelated to any other performer or delegation member.

The European Broadcasting Union declared that Klein would not accrue any points from national juries or viewers, who contribute to selecting the winner, resulting in the Netherlands being absent from the contest scoreboard. However, Dutch viewers retained the right to vote, in accordance with Eurovision rules prohibiting voting for one’s own nation’s act.

As of Saturday, it remained uncertain whether Klein remained in Malmo amidst the unfolding events. Such a last-minute disqualification marked an unprecedented occurrence in Eurovision’s 68-year history, though past instances included countries boycotting or being expelled, like Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

AVROTROS, the Dutch broadcaster participating in the collective funding and broadcasting of the contest, expressed shock over the decision. In a subsequent statement, they disclosed that Klein was captured on camera without consent after Thursday’s semifinal, leading to a “threatening movement” toward the camera. They emphasized that Klein didn’t physically touch the camera or the camerawoman, denouncing his expulsion as an excessively severe punishment.

The 26-year-old Dutch artist, acclaimed for his song “Europapa,” a lively Euro-techno homage to the continent’s diversity and his late parents, garnered favor among bookmakers and fans alike. Dave Adams, a British fan dressed as Klein in a distinctive blue suit with pointed shoulder pads, expressed disappointment at the disqualification.

This year’s competition, usually celebrated for its music and cultural unity, has been overshadowed by controversy surrounding Israel’s participation. The inclusion of Israel has sparked significant protests from Palestinians and their supporters, who advocate for its exclusion citing concerns over its actions in Gaza.

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