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Artist Jan Fabre Gets 18 Month Sentence In Sexual Assault Case

Belgian artist and choreographer Jan Fabre received an 18-month suspended sentence from an Antwerp court regarding the ongoing sexual harassment trial.

In 2018, during the global #MeToo movement, 20 people came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Jan Fabre. The allegations came as a public letter in a magazine – 8 people signed it with their names, though all claimed to be formerly part of his dance company Troubleyn. The allegations included dancing “sexually” with performers and tricking people into getting photographed erotically. Fabre has repeatedly denied the allegations.

On Saturday, the Antwerp court found Jan Fabre guilty on six counts. These included sexual harassment and indecent assault. He received 18 months of a suspended sentence from the court. A suspended sentence means that he would not be required to spend the duration in jail. However, it also means that Fabre would be stripped of his civil liberties in Belgium; these include voting rights and other civil rights granted to citizens.

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Fabre had not attended the court hearing. His lawyer read out his handwritten note, saying: “I sincerely apologise to anyone who feels hurt, to anyone who has felt bad because of me. I wish you the anarchy of love and beauty.” The Antwerp court, while meting the judgment, remarked that Fabre had “created a hostile and humiliating working environment within which his dancers had to function.”

Born in 1958, Jan Fabre is well-known in Belgium as a choreographer. Since 1980, he has been behind numerous theatre productions. But his works as an artist have also been exhibited at global venues. These include the Louvre, Venice Biennale (1985) and Documenta 14 (2017).