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Eurovision: Netherlands may stop taking part in contest after Joost Klein disqualified

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The Netherlands has warned it may stop taking part in Eurovision after this year’s contestant was abruptly disqualified.

Dutch broadcaster Avrotros has called for “structural problems” in the contest to be addressed, and may not make an entry until improvements are made.

Joost Klein was kicked out of the competition after allegedly making verbal threats to a female production worker during last month’s event in Malmo.

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Eurovision’s organisers are now investigating the incident, which marked the first time that an act had been disqualified after reaching the grand final.

In a statement, Avrotros said: “The Eurovision Song Contest was created to connect countries and peoples through music and to encourage mutual brotherhood.

“This should be the starting point for the organisers and all participating countries.

“Until Avrotros is confident that structural adjustments will be made to the artists and their musical message back in the centre, we will keep participation in the song contest under consideration.”

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Avrotros said it will “cooperate” with the European Broadcasting Union’s review, but thinks “a broader, more in-depth, and truly independent investigation is needed to address structural problems”.

It stressed its concerns were not just related to the incident in Malmo – but wider issues including management, the contest’s rules and appeals process, and increased pressure on artists and delegations.

This year’s event was also overshadowed by protests surrounding Israel’s inclusion at the competition amid the war in Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian protests were held throughout the week, with an estimated 12,000 people – including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunbergtaking to the streets of Malmo to call for Israel’s exclusion.

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Image:
A pro-Palestine demonstration in Malmo in May. Pic: AP

A previous statement from the EBU said: “The European Broadcasting Union seeks to continuously improve its services and events.

“To further strengthen the Eurovision Song Contest, we have asked an independent expert to look at ESC 2024 in Malmo to share insights and learnings with the EBU’s governing bodies to support the continuous improvement of this global event.”

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