The Hanover State Opera separates from ballet director Marco Goecke because of his dog excrement attack on a journalist. His contract as ballet director was terminated with immediate effect and by mutual agreement, said artistic director Laura Berman on Thursday at the Ballhof Eins theater venue. The theater management had already suspended Goecke on Monday. According to Berman, however, his plays will continue to be performed in Hanover.
On Saturday evening in the foyer of the opera house in Hanover, Goecke smeared Wiebke Hüster, a journalist from the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", with dog excrement. He had previously accused her of always writing "bad, personal" reviews. Three days later, the ballet director publicly apologized - but at the same time made further allegations against the journalist. She reacted indignantly and shocked.
According to the journalist, Goecke suddenly pulled a plastic bag with dog feces out of his pocket in the opera foyer and rubbed it in her face with the open side. "When I felt what he did, I screamed," said the 57-year-old. She was in shock and cried.
Goecke later explained in writing: "I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone involved, first and foremost to Ms. Hüster, for my absolutely unacceptable action." The choreographer explained the attack with the "nervous strain of two premieres in quick succession". At the same time, he again accused Hüster and spoke of "often hateful criticism".
Hüster then said that at the beginning the statement said that Goecke would like to apologize. "But then he switches immediately and reinforces the allegations that he made against me anyway," said Hüster on Tuesday in the 3sat magazine "Kulturzeit". "What kind of an apology is that supposed to be? That's a justification. Plus, we're talking about a criminal offense here. That's insult and assault."
The disgusting attack has made international headlines, including the British BBC and the US newspaper "New York Times" reported about it. The attack also triggered a debate about the tense relationship between art and criticism.
Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) spoke in the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung" about a disgusting incident that he found difficult to imagine without personal consequences. Hanover's Lord Mayor Belit Onay (Greens) had also expressed his regret. "Attacks on freedom of the press and physical integrity have no place in Hanover," he emphasized earlier this week.