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

Joost Klein, the Netherlands’ Eurovision contestant who was disqualified from the competition just hours before the grand final, will probably be charged with making illegal threats, Swedish police have said.

The 26-year-old favourite to win was expelled from the competition in Malmö, unprecedented in the 68-year history of Eurovision, after a female member of the production crew made a complaint about an alleged “backstage incident” to Swedish police.

Police spokesperson Jimmy Modin told the Guardian that their investigation was over and that a decision on the charges should come “within the next couple of weeks”. He did not say what the nature of the alleged threats were.

“We expect there will probably be a prosecution,” Emil Andersson, the police officer in charge of the case, told Swedish broadcaster SVT. He said an “accelerated prosecution”, a process that takes around six to eight weeks, will be likely as the altercation did not involve a more serious crime.

The Sydsvenska daily, a Malmö newspaper, said that the crime of making threats usually leads to fines upon conviction.

After Klein was expelled, Dutch broadcaster Avrotros said it was “shocked” by the decision and said that while Klein made a “threatening move” towards a female camera operator, he had not touched her.

“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,” Avrotros said.

The broadcaster claimed it had offered “several solutions” to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which runs Eurovision, but Klein was ejected anyway.

The Guardian has gone to Klein and Avrotros for comment.

Organisers would not give more detail of the alleged incident during the competition, but clarified that it “did not involve any other performer or delegation member” due to rumours it had involved Israel’s delegation, amid tensions between contestants around the Israel-Gaza war.

When Israeli singer Eden Golan was told she did not have to answer a journalist’s question about whether her presence “posed a risk”, Klein interrupted to ask: “Why not?”, not long before he was disqualified.

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On Monday, the EBU issued a statement amid criticism over how the famously apolitical song contest handled tensions around the Israel-Gaza war, saying that they “regret” that some delegations “didn’t respect the spirit of the rules”.

“We spoke to a number of delegations during the event regarding various issues that were brought to our attention,” the EBU said.

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

The EBU confirmed several contestants and delegations had lodged complaints. Portugal’s national broadcaster RTP has complained about a delay in posting their contestant Iolanda’s performance to YouTube after the final, with the EBU saying the delay was due to Iolanda having her nails painted designs inspired by the keffiyeh – Palestinian scarves used to show support for the country.

Ireland’s contestant, Bambie Thug, also confirmed they made multiple complaints in the run-up to the final and accused Israeli broadcaster Kan of “inciting violence” against them during its coverage of their performance.

During the first semi-final, a Kan commentator said Bambie Thug had “spoken negatively about Israel”, adding: “But we can talk about that later. Prepare your curses.”

This may have been a reference to a lyric about placing a hex on an ex in Bambie Thug’s song, but the performer said they felt it crossed a line.

“The broadcaster [Kan] has disobeyed the rules and I hope next year [Israel] won’t be able to compete because of that,” Bambie Thug told reporters after the contest.

Some contestants described the atmosphere behind the scenes this year as “tense” and “horrible”, as thousands protested outside on the streets of Malmö calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In a post on Instagram after the grand final, Golan wrote: “To say it was easy would be a lie. But with your support and love it gave me the strength to continue and put on the absolute best performance I knew I can do.”

Lithuania’s entrant, Silvester Belt, who performed after Golan at the grand final, called it a “traumatic experience” on social media, writing: “Going after that country, with the crowd being so intense, was one of the worst things I had to go through. I really did the best that I could in this situation.”

Swiss singer Nemo, who won the contest with their song The Code, said in a press conference after that the experience was “really intense” and that they felt “maybe Eurovision needs fixing a little bit”.

The European Commission also criticised a decision by the EBU to ban audience members from waving the EU flag at the grand final, calling it “completely regrettable” and “mind-blowing”.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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