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This German Ballet Director Who Smeared Dog Poo On A Critic’s Face Over A Negative Review Has Been Fired

Marco Goecke had reportedly been enraged after the woman critic said his recent show was “alternately driven mad and killed by boredom”.

Marco Goecke, the ballet director of the Hanover State Opera in Germany, has been fired after he smeared dog poo on a woman critic’s face over a negative review.

50-year-old Goecke had reportedly been enraged after reading the review written by journalist Wiebke Hüster of the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), saying his recent show, “In The Dutch Mountains”, was “alternately driven mad and killed by boredom”.

Marco Goecke, designated ballet director of the Staatsoper Hannover, stands in the foyer of the Staatsoper
Marco Goecke, designated ballet director of the Staatsoper Hannover, stands in the foyer of the Staatsoper. (Photo by Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images)

During the interval at another show at Hanover State Opera on Saturday Feb. 11, Goecke approached Hüster with a paper bag of poo from his dachshund and smeared it on her face.

Hüster, who has been a professional dance journalist for 25 years, told BBC she was in shock and described the moment as a “brutal” attack.

german critic weibker huster was smeared dog poo by the ballet director marco goecke

“When I realized what happened, I screamed, I panicked… I consider it an act against the freedom of [the] press,” she told the BBC.

In response, the director of the Hanover State Opera, Laura Berman, said that they suspended and banned Goecke, because his act not only violated the rules of conduct but also “extremely unsettled the audience and massively damaged the State Ballet’s reputation”.

marco goecke german ballet director smiling at the camera

She said the opera immediately contacted Hüster and apologized to her in person and in public.

“I cannot even begin to imagine what it must feel like to be humiliated like that in public,” Berman said in the statement. “Criticism is important for the creation and development of art.”

On Thursday Feb. 16, the opera said that Goecke was leaving his job “by mutual agreement.”

a selfie of german ballet director marco goecke

However, the opera said it would continue to perform his work.

Goecke told the New York Times on the same day that he had “apologized deeply” for the incident.

A portrait photo of Marco Goecke, designated ballet director of the Staatsoper Hannover
Photo by Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

However, he added that critics should not write in “a personal and hateful way”.

“If I’d been a woman and the critic a man, this would be seen differently,” he said.

German police are now investigating the incident.

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