Hours before the Eurovision Song Contest’s finals, the singer representing the Netherlands was kicked out of the competition due to a backstage incident with a crew member.

The Netherlands’ Joost Klein had qualified for Saturday’s finals following his performance of the song “Europapa” at Thursday’s semifinals, but was absent at Friday’s rehearsal, leading to speculation that he had been ousted from the competition.

On Saturday, Eurovision producers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed that Klein had been disqualified from the competition after a female production crew member reported to Swedish police that Klein allegedly made “unlawful threats” following the semifinals at Malmö Arena.

“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 semifinal,” Eurovision’s organizers 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 behavior at our event and are committed to providing a safe and secure environment”.

A spokesperson for the Swedish police told the BBC, “The police have taken all essential investigative measures and questioned the suspect, plaintiff and witnesses. The investigation has been completed by the police… and the case will now go to the prosecutor within a few weeks.”

Klein’s disqualification marks the first time in Eurovision’s history that a contestant had been kicked out of the song contest during the week-long competition.

Dutch broadcaster Avrotros condemned Klein’s dismissal on social media, calling it a “disproportionate” response to the incident. “We have taken note of the disqualification by the EBU,” Avrotros wrote. “Avrotros finds the disqualification disproportionate and is shocked by the decision. We deeply regret this and will come back to it later.”


Prior to Eurovision producers revealing the circumstances of Klein’s disqualification, it was speculated that his contentious press conference interaction with Eden Golan, the singer representing Israel at the competition, was to blame; Klein was among the more vocal competitors questioning Israel’s divisive presence at Eurovision amid the conflict in Gaza.

“We would like to make clear that, contrary to some media reports and social media speculation, this incident did not involve any other performer or delegation member,” the EBU’s statement added.

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