Angry ballet director smears dog poo on face of female critic for bad review

Angry ballet director smears dog poo on face of female critic for bad review
Woman does ballet jump in empty studio

A German ballet director responded to a negative review he received by smearing dog poo in the critic's face.

Marco Goecke, ballet director of the Hannover State Opera since 2019, confronted journalist Wiebke Hüster during the interval of a premiere at the opera house on Saturday and asked her what she was doing there.

He then smeared her face with a paper bag that contained animal feces on her face the contents and then made his way out through a packed theatre foyer.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

It's been said that the two didn't know each other personally.

Meanwhile, the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported that Goecke felt provoked by a recent review she wrote of a production he staged in the Dutch seat of government, The Hague, threatened to ban her from the ballet and accused her of being responsible for people cancelling season tickets in Hannover, as per Associated Press.

The review that Goecke wasn't happy with was Huester's words on his new show In the Dutch Mountains, which was published in the FAZ on Saturday.

Huester wrote that watching Goecke's show, was like being “alternately driven mad and killed by boredom”.

Police are currently investigating the incident and Huester, who identified the substance as dog faeces, has filed a criminal complaint, German news agency dpa reported.

"When I realised what happened, I screamed, I panicked... I can assure you that it was not an impulsive act - he had planned this. I consider it an act against the freedom of [the] press," the dance critic told the BBC.

The opera house has since released a statement, describing how Huester’s “personal integrity” was violated “in an unspeakable way”.

The theatre said that it contacted her immediately after the incident to apologise.

Goecke has been suspended from the opera house until further notice after the venue said his "impulsive reaction” violated the ground rules of the theatre for causing "massive damage to the Hannover State Opera and State Ballet.”

He has been given the next few days to apologize “comprehensively” and explain himself to theatre management “before further steps are initiated”, it added, according to AP.

Since then Goecke had admitted he smeared the excrement but said it was “in the heat of the moment."

He told NDR (as per The Guardian) that he regretted his actions but did not offer an apology, saying he was responding to decades of “annihilatory criticism."

"My old dachshund had done his business in his bag, which sometimes happens at the age he is, and I had just packed the poo into a bag and had wanted to throw it away outside," he recalled while sat on a park bench with his 14-year-old dog, Gustav.

"I think that the means I chose were certainly not super. Absolutely. I think from a societal viewpoint, making use of such a method will not receive approval or be respected."

FAZ also commented on the incident: “This humiliating incident is not only an act of bodily harm but also an attempt to intimidate our free, critical view of art."

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)