Dutch contestant disqualified from Eurovision

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By Mark Savage
Music correspondent, BBC News

The Dutch artist Joost Klein has been disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest after a backstage incident.

The performer has been sent home after an allegation of intimidation was made to Swedish police by a female member of the production crew.

In a statement, the contest organisers said “it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the contest” while the legal process takes place.

Klein had been among the favourites to win with his song, Europapa.

A pro-Europe techno anthem, it was dedicated to his father who he lost to cancer aged 12.

Now 26, the singer had promised his father he would one day make it to the Eurovision stage.

News of his suspension emerged on Friday afternoon, during the first dress rehearsal for Saturday’s televised grand final.

Klein’s props were being set up on stage inside the Malmö Arena when a production manager indicated they should be removed.

His song was then skipped without explanation, and Israel’s entrant Eden Golan, who was next in the running order, took his place.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the event, later issued a statement saying they were “investigating an incident that was reported to us involving the Dutch artist”.

On Saturday, Swedish police confirmed that a man had been reported for making “unlawful threats” at Malmö Arena, after Thursday’s semi-final.

“The police have taken all essential investigative measures and questioned the suspect, plaintiff and witnesses,” a spokesperson said.

“The investigation has been completed by the police… and the case will now go to the prosecutor within a few weeks.”

The EBU subsequently confirmed Klein would not be taking part in Saturday’s grand final.

“We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our event and are committed to providing a safe and secure working environment for all staff at the Contest,” they said.

“In light of this, Joost Klein’s behaviour towards a team member is deemed in breach of Contest rules.”

Organisers also stressed that “contrary to some media reports and social media speculation, this incident did not involve any other performer or delegation member.”

Early reports suggested that there had been antagonism between Klein and Israel’s entrant, as feelings run high over the country’s participation during the Israel-Gaza war.

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