Ballet director suspended after smearing dog feces on critic

by ian

Ian Patrick, FISM News

Ballet director Marco Goecke of the Hannover State Opera House has been suspended after he reportedly attacked German newspaper critic Wiebke Huester with a bag filled with dog feces.

The opera house apologized for the incident and issued the suspension on Monday.

According to a report from the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Goecke approached Huester during an interval at a Saturday premiere being held at Hannover’s opera house.

Although the two weren’t acquainted, it was reported that Goecke wanted to know what Huester was doing at the premiere. It appeared as though Goecke was offended by a critique that Huester wrote for a production he staged in The Hague. He threatened to ban Huester from the opera house and blamed her for decreased ticket sales.

At some point, Goecke pulled out a bag filled with dog feces and smeared it over the critic’s face before escaping the scene. German news agency DPA reported that Huester filed a criminal complaint against the director.

The opera house posted a statement on its website further explaining its decision, and giving Goecke a chance to make amends.

With his impulsive reaction towards journalist Wiebke Hüster on the evening of last Saturday, Ballet Director Marco Goecke has violated all codes of conduct upheld by the Hanover State Opera. He grievously offended Ms Hüster personally, and immensely upset the audience, the theatre’s staff and the general public. With his actions, he has massively damaged the Hanover State Opera and State Ballet. Therefore, the theatre’s management suspended him with immediate effect and has banned him from entering the premises in order to prevent further damage to the ballet company and the State Theatre. The State Theatre of Lower Saxony has called on the Ballet Director to offer an extensive apology and to give an explanation to the theatre’s management before further steps will be announced.

The statement also quotes Artistic Director Laura Berman, who said she and the director of communications “personally approached Wiebke Hüster and apologized. Shortly afterward we published an apology to our audience.”

Goecke appeared not too apologetic about the action, according to an interview he did with public broadcaster NDR. When asked about the event, he said his reaction “wasn’t super” but that from a social standpoint, it won’t be “recognized or respected.”