Eurovision Organisers Defend Decision To Disqualify Dutch Singer Joost Klein

Joost was supposed to represent The Netherlands, but was removed from this year's contest on the morning of the live final amid an investigation into an "incident".
Dutch singer Joost Klein pictured during rehearsals for this year's Eurovision Song Contest
Dutch singer Joost Klein pictured during rehearsals for this year's Eurovision Song Contest
TOBIAS SCHWARZ via Getty Images

Eurovision bosses have defended their decision to remove Dutch performer Joost Klein from this year’s competition hours before the live final got underway.

On Friday, ahead of the finalists’ performance for the Eurovision juries, organisers confirmed that Joost would not be rehearsing “until further notice” while an undisclosed “incident” involving the Netherlands representative was investigated.

The following morning, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed that Joost had been disqualified, a measure which the Netherlands’ national broadcaster Avrotros described as “heavy and disproportionate”.

Avrotros said in a statement: “An incident occurred after last Thursday’s performance. Against clearly made agreements, Joost was filmed when he had just gotten off stage and had to rush to the greenroom. At that moment, Joost repeatedly indicated that he did not want to be filmed. This wasn’t respected. This led to a threatening movement from Joost towards the camera.

“Joost did not touch the camera woman. This incident was reported, followed by an investigation by the EBU and police.”

Singer and rapper Joost on stage in Malmö
Singer and rapper Joost on stage in Malmö
JESSICA GOW via Getty Images

They continued: “Yesterday and today we consulted extensively with the EBU and proposed several solutions. Nevertheless, the EBU has still decided to disqualify Joost Klein. AVROTROS finds the penalty very heavy and disproportionate. We stand for good manners – let there be no misunderstanding about that – but in our view, an exclusion order is not proportional to this incident.

“We are very disappointed and upset for the millions of fans who were so excited for tonight. What Joost brought to the Netherlands and Europe shouldn’t have ended this way.”

YouTuber and former Eurovision host Nikkie De Jager also pulled out of announcing The Netherlands’ points during the live final following the EBU’s decision.

On Monday, the EBU released an additional statement, confirming the matter had been investigated by Swedish police and would “soon be handed over to the prosecutor in an accelerated procedure”.

“Joost’s behaviour was in clear breach of Contest rules which are designed to ensure there is a safe working environment for all staff and to protect the production,” they said.

“We are not pre-judging the legal process but, given the circumstances of what occurred and the fact that the police case will shortly be handed to the prosecutor, it would not have been appropriate for Joost to participate in the Grand Final.

“The decision to exclude him was backed by the Contest’s governing body of Members – the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group – and unanimously supported by the EBU Executive Board, following a thorough internal investigation.

“The version of events released in some public comments and on social media does not correspond with the statements shared with us and the Swedish Police by staff and witnesses. However, the matter is now subject to legal proceedings and there is unfortunately nothing further we can add at this stage.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our events and will always take necessary action to address threats to staff – no matter who they come from.”

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest was marred with controversy both in the lead-up to and throughout the competition.

It was recently revealed that several complaints were made to the EBU about the behaviour from certain teams behind the scenes in Malmö.

This included a complaint from the Dutch delegation a day before Joost’s disqualification.

Malmö Arena was the home of Eurovision in 2024
Malmö Arena was the home of Eurovision in 2024
picture alliance via Getty Images

An EBU spokesperson responded in a statement: “We regret that some delegations at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Malmö didn’t respect the spirit of the rules and the competition both onsite and during their broadcasts. We spoke to a number of delegations during the event regarding various issues that were brought to our attention.

“The EBU’s governing bodies will, together with the heads of delegations, review the events surrounding the ESC in Malmö to move forward in a positive way and to ensure the values of the event are respected by everyone.

“Individual cases will be discussed by the event’s governing body, the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group made up of representatives from participating broadcasters, at its next meeting.”

Since the competition, several acts and delegations have already spoken out against the way Eurovision was run in 2024.

Even the contest’s winner Nemo has criticised organisers for a “double standard” after they were not permitted to wave a non-binary flag within the arena (but apparently “smuggled” one in anyway).

Nemo also admitted their Eurovision experience had been “really intense”, and “not just pleasant all the way”, but insisted that “at the same time, there was so much love here as well”.


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