Joost Klein, eurovision

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‘Stood up for everything he believes in’: Eurovision fans outraged at Joost Klein getting disqualified following alleged incident

'The people's winner.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on May 11, 2024   Updated on May 11, 2024, 11:33 am CDT

Earlier today, the international song competition Eurovision announced that it would disqualify Dutch finalist Joost Klein following an alleged incident following his performance a few days prior.

“Swedish police have investigated a complaint made by a female member of the production crew after an incident following his performance in Thursday night’s Semi Final. While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the Contest,” the statement on Eurovision’s website reads.

The statement continues: “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.”

This is a first for Eurovision, as never before has a contestant been disqualified after the start of the five-day event.

The announcement comes after days of speculation from Eurovision watchers as to what actually happened during the alleged incident. While specifics are still unclear, independent reports indicate that Klein allegedly made “unlawful threats” toward someone working for the event.

While these charges have not yet been proven, and no further specifics are known, reporters and internet users alike have been quick to share their thoughts.

AVROTROS, a Dutch state media apparatus, put out a statement on X (formerly Twitter) that they believed the reaction from the European Broadcasting Union was unjust, writing, “We have taken note of the disqualification by the EBU. @AVROTROS finds the disqualification disproportionate and is shocked by the decision. We deeply regret this and will come back to it later.”

On Monday morning, AVOTROS released another statement shedding light on the alleged incident.

“Joost was filmed when he had just gotten off stage and had to rush to the greenroom,” the statement reads. “Joost repeatedly indicated that he did not want to be filmed…Joost did not touch the camera woman.”

Other internet users have simply voiced their support for Klein, with many noting that Klein had stated that playing Eurovision was a lifelong dream and a tribute to his parents, both of whom he lost when he was still a teenager.

This disqualification comes at a tumultuous time for Eurovision. The present competition has been repeatedly interrupted by protestors voicing their resistance toward Israel’s presence in the competition given the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

These interruptions have ranged from outdoor protests to booing Israel’s entrant in the competition, Eden Golan.

Some have accused the criticism of Golan, her performance, and Israel’s inclusion to be anti-semitic in nature.

Golan’s entry, Hurricane, initially drew controversy for its lyrics and original title, October Rain; the lyrics and title were changed before the contest to remove references that appeared to invoke the events of Oct. 7 in Israel, in which 695 civilians were killed during an attack by Hamas. Estimates indicate that over 36,000 Palestinians have died as a result of Israel’s response to the attack.

Historically, Eurovision has required contestants to refrain from explicitly political speech and imagery during their appearances at Eurovision. 

This year, however, many contestants are accused of engaging in such speech, though some have denied these claims.

For example, Greek entrant Marina Satti was seen yawning and closing her eyes while Golan spoke during a press conference. Satti has since stated on social media that she “didn’t intend to offend anyone” and was simply tired following numerous performances.

Latvia’s entrant, Dons, was suspected of making a similarly political statement when he said in a press conference that, “Every country in the world deserves to be free.” Ireland’s entrant, Bambie Thug, has been much more explicit, seen wearing a keffiyeh and claiming to have “cried with [their] team” upon hearing that Israel made it to the finals.

“It is a complete overshadow of everything, goes against everything that Eurovision is meant to be,” they said of Israel’s inclusion.

While Klein has been less openly political, not joining several other Eurovision contestants in March who signed a statement demanding an “immediate and lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages,” internet users have inferred political statements through his actions before and during the event.

For example, during a Reddit AMA earlier this week, he was pictured wearing a shirt that read, “NO WAR” and “PEACE.”

Then, during a press conference, Golan was asked whether her presence was putting other contestants in danger. When an official said that Golan did not have to answer the question, Klein could be heard asking, “Why not?”

Additionally, given that Klein was allegedly removed for an “unlawful threat,” some internet users have pointed to statements from Israel’s delegation to claim that they are also breaking the rules. Ireland’s entrant Bambie Thug has made similar statements.

That said, the internet is largely in a state of confusion about the current goings-on of Eurovision.

A thread on Reddit’s r/Eurovision is filled with more questions than answers. Some speculate that the incident could have come from a cultural misunderstanding; others have shared news about the various countries that have allegedly considered pulling their performances from the show. These countries include Ireland, Great Britain, Switzerland, Portugal, and Estonia.

For the time being, the final Eurovision performances are planned to continue as normal, though the Netherlands will no longer be part of the competition. The Netherlands delegation has asked that people not submit votes for Klein; the country itself will still be allowed to allocate points at the competition’s end.

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*First Published: May 11, 2024, 12:00 pm CDT