The Hannover State Opera in Germany has ended its collaboration with ballet director and choreographer Marco Goecke, following an attack on journalist Wiebke Hüster.
Hüster was insulted and physically attacked by Goecke following a press conference on 9 February, in which she raised questions about his work. The director later smeared nearby dog feces in her face in retaliation to her criticism.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also criticised Goecke, saying the attack was an attempt to intimidate the publication’s critical view of art.
The police are investigating the incident, though no charges have been filed yet. Hannover State Opera apologised to Hüster in a public press release and has ended its collaboration with Goecke by “mutual agreement”.
Nederlands Dans Theater, however, has decided to continue working with the choreographer, following his apology for the incident.
The regional journalist association, represented by Frank Rieger, condemned the attack on Hüster as an attack on the freedom of the press. Rieger said that while an artist must endure criticism, reacting to criticism with violence is not acceptable. Goecke criticised what he called “destructive, hurtful reporting”, saying it was damaging “the entire cultural enterprise”.
The incident has caused public outrage in Germany, with many calling for justice and accountability. Hüster herself said that she will not attend any more performances by Marco Goecke.
The attack on the journalist has been widely viewed as a violation of her personal integrity, with Hannover State Opera describing it as such in its public apology to her.