The Public Prosecution Service in Belgium demands an unconditional prison sentence of three years against artist Jan Fabre. He is accused of bullying, violence and sexually undesirable behavior in the workplace. “He has been committing these acts for decades,” concludes the public prosecutor.
In the court in Antwerp, statements of eleven victims were read by their lawyers. It painted the picture that the 62-year-old Fabre, as leader of theater company Troubleyn, frequently crossed the line. He is said to have intimidated, humiliated and assaulted women, among other things. “Fabre used the theater context to indulge his sexual appetites,” says one of them.
Blue buttocks and continuous bullying
One victim stated that she had to masturbate in front of a camera as part of a project. “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.”
Another woman says she was beaten hard for a play in 2002. “Two men had to bite my buttocks, they really had to bite me. That part was practiced very often, so that I had bruises on my legs, I almost couldn’t get up the stairs anymore. In addition, there were continuous bullying where he ignored me and broke off.”
According to a third victim, Fabre suddenly came to her, kissed her and wanted sex. “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.” Some women say they became depressed after their period with Troubleyn and some wanted to end their lives at a certain point.
‘No sex, no solo’
Fabre gave an interview to the Flemish broadcaster VRT in mid-2018, in which he called MeToo shocking in the culture sector. He also said that “never, jamais” has been a problem in his theater and dance company. A few months later, twenty accusations against the artist came out. Someone who had worked with Fabre years ago said that “no sex, no solo” was Fabre’s golden rule.
According to the public prosecutor, Fabre does not show any insight into guilt. “He questions his employees and they have to send him emails that they remain loyal to him. These are very serious facts. I can’t imagine a worse file than this in terms of transgressive behavior.” The artist himself was not present at today’s session.
Next Friday, Fabre’s defense will have a say in the lawsuit. His lawyer said at a hearing in September last year that he had not committed any criminal offences. “We will demonstrate that in court.”