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, director Laura Berman said at a press conference in Hanover on Thursday. The theater management had already suspended Goecke on Monday. According to Berman, however, his dance pieces will continue to be performed in Hanover.
Goecke had the dance critic of the last Saturday evening in the foyer of the opera house in Hanover Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wiebke Hüster, smeared 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 accusations against the journalist and spoke of “often hateful criticism”. She reacted indignantly and shocked. “What kind of apology is that supposed to be?” She said on Tuesday in the 3sat magazine “Kulturzeit”. Goecke’s statement is “a justification”. Also: “We’re talking about a criminal offense here. That’s insult and bodily harm.”
The attack made international headlines, including the BBC and the 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 New Osnabrück newspaper of a disgusting incident, which he found difficult to imagine remaining without personal consequences. Hanover’s Lord Mayor Belit Onay (Greens) had also expressed his regret: “Attacks on press freedom and physical integrity have no place in Hanover.”