Disqualified Eurovision contestant Joost Klein likely to face charges, Swedish police say

Joost Klein of Netherlands performs the song Europapa during the dress rehearsal for the second semi-final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden, Wednesday, May 8
Joost Klein of Netherlands performs the song Europapa during the dress rehearsal for the second semi-final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden, Wednesday, May 8 Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Jonny Walfisz
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Joost Klein was disqualified from this weekend's Eurovision final just hours before it aired. Now he may face charges, according to Swedish police.

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The Netherlands’ disqualified Eurovision contestant Joost Klein is likely to face charges, according to Swedish police.

In a dramatic move hours before the grand final, Klein was disqualified from the event due to what was described as an “incident”. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said that the 26-year-old favourite would be investigated and that he could not perform because “while the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the Contest.”

It was later confirmed that a female member of the song contest's production crew made an accusation against Klein over the incident.

“We expect there will probably be a prosecution,” Emil Andersson, the case’s lead police officer, told Swedish broadcaster SVT. It’s been clarified that the process will be an “accelerated prosecution”, which implies the altercation didn’t involve a more serious crime, and the process is expected to take around two months.

The Sydsvenska Daily, a local paper in Malmö, where the competition took place, noted that the crime of making threats often leads to fines after conviction.

Beyond this latest statement, there isn’t much information available as to what Klein is accused of. The most clarity has come from the Dutch broadcaster Avrotros, which put out a statement arguing Klein’s disqualification was “disproportionate”.

“Against the clearly made agreement, Joost was filmed when he had just gotten off stage and had to rush to the green room. At that moment, Joost repeatedly indicated that he did not want to be filmed. This wasn’t respected,” the statement read, continuing the broadcaster “finds the disqualification disproportionate and is shocked by the decision.”

Klein’s disqualification on the day of the final is unprecedented in Eurovision history, with the EBU later allowing the Dutch public and jury to vote in the evening’s competition.

The 26-year-old Dutch singer and rapper had been a bookies’ favourite, as well as a fan favourite, with his song “Europapa,” an upbeat Euro-techno ode to the continent that is also a tribute to Klein’s parents, who died when he was a child.

This year's competition was already marred in controversy over the inclusion of Israel. Large protests took place in Malmö by Palestinians and their supporters, who said Israel should be excluded after killing thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

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