Jan Fabre, the Belgian artist and founder of dance company Troubleyn, is currently being investigated by the Flemish ministry of culture, following allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, The Art Newspaper reports. The Flemish minister of culture, Sven Gatz, said he launched the investigation after twenty former dancers penned an open letter, published by the Dutch magazine Rekto:Verso, claiming they were humiliated and intimidated by Fabre while working at the company.
The signatories say they decided to come forward after watching an interview of Fabre on the VRT TV channel, in which he ‘responds with surprise and disbelief’ to a survey revealing that one out of four women in the Belgian cultural sector has experienced sexual harassment in the past year. The letter includes various testimonies from performers, which describe instances in which Fabre behaved inappropriately. ‘Humiliation is daily bread in and around the rehearsal space of Troubleyn,’ the signatories writes; ‘women’s bodies in particular are the target of painful, often bluntly sexist criticism – regardless of their actual physical condition’.
Fabre has denied all the accusations. In response to the letter, which concludes by exhorting the board of Troubleyn to take responsibility of the situation, the company replied: ‘We deplore this attack via the media, as this constitutes an unfair public trial. Jan Fabre is being publicly shamed without any form of defence, on the basis of anonymous testimony and allegations that are difficult to verify.’
Read letter in full here
17 September 2018