About 20 employees and interns who have worked with artist Jan Fabre’s at his Troubleyn Theatre Company have complained about the behaviour of the famous Antwerp-based artist in an open letter published on Wednesday evening on the Internet site of the specialized art magazine rekto:verso. The open letter refers to humiliation, intimidation and semi-secret photographic activities. Its signatories accuse the famous artist of inviting dancers for audio-visual performances and trying to use that as a pretext for extorting sexual favours from them. Some dancers were offered substantial sums of money after such sessions. Those who refused saw their roles reduced and risked humiliation or manipulation, according to the open letter.
Eight of the complainants signed the open letter with their names, while the others remained anonymous.
Jan Fabre was also accused of humiliating women during practice sessions with “painful and often openly sexist criticism”. Some of the signatories said they had been victims of these practices, while others said they had witnessed them.
They explained that they had decided to go public after failed attempts to discuss their complaints with Jan Fabre at Troubleyn.
The signatories were also offended by an interview in which the artist said he had never noticed any problems related to transgressive sexual behaviour in 40 years of collaboration. However, at least six members of the Troubleyn staff left the company in the past two years for this reason, according to the document.
Fabre and Troubleyn rejected the criticisms on the Internet site of rekto:verso, stressing that he never forced anyone to do things they consider beyond their limits. They also regretted being subjected to a media trial without any possibility of defending themselves and denied any inappropriate behaviour.