Prison threatens Belgian theater maker Fabre (63) for ‘infinite list’ misbehaviour | Abroad

The Belgian theater maker and artist Jan Fabre faces three years in prison for assault, sexual harassment and misconduct against dancers and other employees. He deserves that punishment for an ‘infinite list’ of misconduct, says the Public Prosecution Service. Fabre would show no awareness of what he has done.

The case was started 3.5 years ago, shortly after the rise of the #MeToo movement, by an open letter from twenty former members of Troubleyn, Fabre’s company. They told about a workplace where abuse of power was the order of the day, with bullying, diatribes, humiliation and forced sex. The testimonies span decades. “The list is endless, just like that of the testimonials,” said the Public Prosecution Service. “The statements of victims and witnesses are convincing and credible. Fabre used the theater context to indulge his sexual appetites.”

The Public Prosecution Service considers it proven, among other things, that Fabre assaulted an employee. Because he was her boss, the judiciary charges him extra. The twelve young victims see their ‘career squatted, they have been paying the price for the defendant’s behavior for years’.

Putting strawberries in the vagina

According to one of the victims, Fabre continued to insist on meeting a lot and he also insisted on doing a certain scene: kissing another dancer for hours. “She was also invited to his apartment several times,” says lawyer Mussche. Fabre claims there that a customer wants to see pictures of him and her. “Suddenly he licked me, he bit my buttocks, he kissed me,” the woman testified. As she walked out, he tried to kiss her again and said, ‘You already cheated on your boyfriend. Kiss Me’.” The woman fled from his apartment. ‘I didn’t feel my body anymore. I felt a deep fear for him, I felt assaulted.’ She is then told that she has horse teeth and horrible feet. She lost all her confidence.

Another dancer had to take off her clothes when she didn’t have to. ,,There was a certain scene, where Jan demanded that a fellow dancer have to look at the vaginas. The actor had to describe and name the vaginas. It was very insulting. No one knows why this happened.”

A 24-year-old woman at the time testified that two men had to bite her buttocks. “They really had to bite me. That part was practiced very often, so I had bruises on my legs, I could hardly go up the stairs. In addition, there was continuous bullying in which he ignored me and cut me off.’ She later continues: ‘At one point I said to him, so the rumors are true, you have to have sex to get the chance. Jan said ‘it was now or never’. I said it never was.’

Yet another woman had to masturbate in front of the camera. “He was just going to photograph my eyes. I can still remember feeling very uncomfortable and insecure. At one point he came closer and started putting strawberries in my vagina.”

culture of fear

Fabre himself was not present in the courtroom. “He shows no insight into guilt, continues to deny the facts and continues his behavior. He questions his employees and they have to send him emails stating that they remain loyal to him. He’s been doing this for decades. These are very serious facts. In terms of transgressive behaviour, I can’t imagine a worse file than this.”

The Public Prosecution Service speaks of a ‘culture of fear’ and a ‘threatening environment in which no one dared to contradict Fabre’. Fabre is said to have abused his dominant position in relation to young dancers, whom he asked for sex. “No one dared to refuse.”

Fabre, also celebrated in the Netherlands, has been discredited before. In 2012, for example, he had cats thrown up on the stairs of Antwerp’s city hall for a film project, which did not all end up well. At an exhibition that year, he was also said to have let tarantulas walk through a maze with razor blades.

During the second day of the trial, next Friday, the defense of artist Fabre will be given the floor.

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