Belgian stage director convicted of harassing dancers
Belgian artist, choreographer and director Jan Fabre was given an 18-month suspended sentence Friday after being convicted of sexually harassing and in one case assaulting dancers in his company.
Prosecutors had sought a three-year custodial sentence for the 63-year-old, but the court in Antwerp ruled that half of the alleged incidents had not been proven or happened too long ago.
In all, Fabre was found guilty in six cases.
Twelve former members of Fabre’s Troubleyn dance company had complained of sexual harassment at work and one of them alleged an indecent assault.
The allegations relate to incidents going back to 2002, but came to light in 2018 when the #metoo movement, a global effort to empower victims of sexual abuse and harassment to speak out.
Fabre did not attend the trial nor the sentencing.
In March, during his trial, several dancers portrayed Fabre as a tyrant during rehearsals — “a toxic working universe” — humiliating his cast and company and sometimes blackmailing women into sex.
Some complained that they had been tricked into taking part in erotic photography sessions under the pretext that they would appear in artistic magazines.
Fabre’s defence counsel admitted that he was a strong and anarchic character and that working with him “is to give 100 percent” in gruelling performances ending in “real exhaustion, real emotions”, but denied he was a criminal.