A ballet director in Hannover allegedly took offense at a German newspaper critic’s critique by smearing animal waste on her face.
The Hannover state opera house apologized for the incident and said Monday that it was suspending ballet director Marco Goecke with immediate effect.
According to the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, an irate Goecke confronted its dance critic, Wiebke Huester, on Saturday at the intermission of a premiere at Hannover’s opera house and questioned her purpose for being there. It stated that neither person knew the other personally.
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According to the newspaper, Goecke threatened to exclude her from the ballet and said she was to blame for people canceling season tickets in Hannover after she recently penned a review of a play he presented in The Hague, the Dutch capital.
The newspaper reported that after smearing her face with animal crap, he ripped out a paper bag containing the waste and fled through the crowded theatre lobby. According to the German news agency dpa, Huester identified the substance as dog feces and declared that she had made a criminal complaint.
In a statement on its website, the opera house said Huester’s “personal integrity” was violated “in an unspeakable way.” It said that it contacted her immediately after the incident to apologize.
The opera house said that Goecke’s “impulsive reaction” violated the ground rules of the theater and that “he caused massive damage to the Hannover State Opera and State Ballet.” As a result, it said, he is being suspended and banned from the opera house until further notice.
Goecke has been given the following several days to “comprehensively” apologize to the theatre management and explain himself “before additional proceedings are revealed,” it continued.
German ballet director suspended after feces attack https://t.co/M1w20NaDO4
— Laredo Morning Times (@lmtnews) February 13, 2023
“Of course, socially, that is also certainly not recognized or respected if one resort to such means,” he said of the attack, adding that he had never done anything like that before and was “a bit shocked at myself.”