Eurovision axes Dutch entry Joost Klein after controversy over 'incident'

Eurovision has kicked out the Netherlands' entrant following a controversy over an "incident" he was involved in.

Joost Klein was alleged to have made verbal threats to a female Eurovision production worker at the event's venue in Malmo, Sweden, on Thursday night.

Eurovision organisers quashed widespread rumours that the incident was linked to Israel's delegation, saying Klein's "behaviour" towards the staff member was a "breach of contest rules".

"Swedish police have investigated a complaint made by a female member of the production crew after an incident following his performance in Thursday night's semi final," a statement from event organisers said. "While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the contest."

It is the first time in Eurovision history that an act has been disqualified after reaching the grand final.

Dutch broadcaster Avrotros said Klein's disqualification was "disproportionate", while the Netherlands' delegation said it was "shocked" by the decision.

Swedish police said in a statement: "A man is suspected of making unlawful threats at the Malmo Arena on Thursday evening.

"The man has been questioned by the police but not detained. The complainant is an employee at Eurovision. The police have questioned the suspect, complainant and witnesses."

Klein, 26, had failed to perform at two dress rehearsals on Friday, as the EBU said it was investigating an "incident."

Around 180 million people around the world are expected to watch the now 25 entrants slug it out in tonight's final, with Croatia and Switzerland among those tipped to take the trophy, ahead of UK entry Olly Alexander, with his track Dizzy, and Ireland's Bambie Thug.

Klein had been due to perform his track Europapa, a happy-hardcore inspired song dismissed by one critic as "so bad" it will "put you off music forever", but which was nonetheless one of the favourites to win.

Protests have dogged the competition over Israel's inclusion amid the war in Gaza.

There are more pro-Palestinian protests planned in Malmo on Saturday evening to coincide with the grand final, amid the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Over the last few months, there have been demonstrations and calls for acts to boycott the show, after the EBU refused to remove Israel from the competition, insisting it had broken no broadcasting rules.

On Thursday, 10,000-12,000 people, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, took to the streets of the city to call for Israel to be excluded.

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Ms Thunberg, 21, claimed Israel is trying to "artwash" Eurovision, referencing the use of artistic performance to distract from perceived negative actions by people, groups, governments or countries.

At a news conference the same day, Klein covered his head while Israel's Eden Golan was speaking to reporters and shouted "why not" when the moderator told her she didn't have to answer a journalist's question.