Man questioned by police over Eurovision incident as Dutch act misses rehearsals

A man has been questioned by police over allegations of threats at the Eurovision Song Contest.

It is not known whether the Netherlands’ act Joost Klein will perform in the final on Saturday, having missed two scheduled dress rehearsals on Friday while an investigation into an incident was carried out.

The 26-year-old rapper and singer qualified in the semi-final on Thursday with his up-tempo song Europapa, a tribute to his late parents.

Sweden Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final
Joost Klein (Jessica Gow/TT News Agency/AP)

Swedish news outlets have reported that he is being investigated after an incident involving a television production worker.

A spokeswoman for the Swedish Police Authority said in a statement to the PA news agency: “A man is suspected of unlawful threats. The crime is said to have been committed at Malmo Arena on Thursday evening.

“The man is questioned by the police but not detained. The plaintiff is an employee at Eurovision.

“The police have taken all essential investigative measures and questioned the suspect, plaintiff and witnesses. The investigation has been completed by the police.

“The case follows the normal legal process. The police have used faster prosecution and the case will now go to the prosecutor within a few weeks.”

Police confirmed the plaintiff is not a Eurovision act.

The grand final marks the end of this year’s Eurovision which has been mired in controversy.

On Friday, a statement from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said: “The investigation into the incident with the Dutch artist in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is still ongoing.

“Discussions are also taking place between the EBU and Avrotros, the Dutch participating broadcaster.

“While the investigation continues, the EBU has decided that Joost Klein will not perform during dress rehearsal two of the competition, which is voted on by juries in the 37 participating countries.

“His performance from semi-final two will be used instead.”

The televised final at the Malmo Arena in Sweden will see acts from the big five countries – the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy – joined by reigning champions Sweden and 20 qualifying countries to perform in a bid to win the title.

Among the other acts who qualified during the semi-finals was Israeli contestant Eden Golan, whose participation amid the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza has been a point of debate.

Her emotional song Hurricane was reworked from a previous track called October Rain, which was thought to reference the Hamas attacks on Israel that sparked the conflict.

More protests are planned for Saturday at the central square Stortorget, and pro-Palestinian demonstrators will walk across the city to Molleplasten.

Sweden Eurovision Song Contest Dress Rehearsal
Eden Golan of Israel performing the song Hurricane (Martin Meissner/AP)

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, whose mother Malena Ernman represented Sweden at Eurovision in 2009, joined 10,000 to 12,000 pro-Palestinian protesters on the streets of Malmo calling for a boycott of the competition on Thursday.

On X, Ms Thunberg claimed Israel is trying to “artwash” Eurovision, referencing the use of artistic performance to distract from perceived negative actions by people, groups, governments or countries.

“We will not accept that a country currently committing genocide is allowed a platform to artwash themselves,” the 21-year-old said.

“The world cannot remain silent in a genocide.”

Israel denies genocide and maintains it has the right to defend itself after the attacks launched by Hamas in October saw more than 1,000 Israelis killed and kidnapped.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “proud” of Golan for participating in the competition, while UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hit out at the demonstrations, saying they were “wrong” and “unfair”, according to a spokesperson.

UK contestant Olly Alexander is hoping to impress in the final with his song Dizzy, featuring an upside-down dressing room staging and cameras rotating to create a spinning feel.

Eurovision 2024
Irish entrant Bambie Thug rehearsing Doomsday Blue (EBU/Sarah-Louise Bennett/PA)

Irish entry Bambie Thug also landed a place in the grand final, which makes them the first Irish finalist since 2018 after a vote for their performance of Doomsday Blue.

Also in the final are Swedish duo Marcus and Martinus with their track Unforgettable.

Sweden is hosting the competition after the victory of its singer Loreen in Liverpool last year, and it is also the 50-year anniversary of Abba giving Sweden its first win with Waterloo.

Irish presenter Graham Norton will host coverage of the event live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, while Scott Mills and Rylan Clark will lead commentary on BBC Radio 2.

The grand final will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 8pm on Saturday.