Artist Jan Fabre apologises by letter during second day of MeToo-trial

On Friday, the second day of the trial against Jan Fabre took place in the correctional court in Antwerp. The artist and theatre maker was not present, but did have a letter read on his behalf in which he apologised for his behaviour. The verdict follows on 29 April.

As on the first day of the hearing, Jan Fabre was also absent on day two of his trial. However, at the end of the day, the Antwerp native had a letter read out by his lawyer, in which he stressed that he never wanted to hurt actors and dancers.

"I offer my sincere apologies to everyone who has felt hurt, to everyone who has felt bad because of my actions. I wish you much anarchy of love and beauty," it read.

Despite Fabre's apologies, his lawyers continue to deny that there was any indecent assault on the honour of any of the civil parties, refering to a WhatsApp conversation of one of the alleged victims. "In a WhatsApp conversation with a friend, the woman in question talks about 'we kissed' herself, and therefore not about Jan Fabre kissing her," ​
Fabre's lawyer Manon Gutwirth explained.

"Nobody has heard from her that it would have been against her will," Gutwirth said. "Only a year later did she indicate that she would not have felt good about it. Jan Fabre then immediately apologised."

The civil parties were given the opportunity to respond to the defence. Lawyer Christine Mussche thought that the long period between the facts and the reporting of the crime does not matter. "Those who have a trauma sometimes need time to come out with it," she said. Mussche also mentioned that an accusation at the time of the facts was ​
unnecessary to make Fabre realise that his behaviour was wrong.

"Someone with a normal sense of normality should have known what was and was not acceptable." ​

The civil parties did not deny that there are many employees of Troubleyn, Jan Fabre's theatre company, who have not experienced harassment or sexually excessive behaviour. "It would be bad if everyone suffered from it," Mussche said. "We are talking about a specific group of people here." ​

Fabre was accused of sexual harassment, assault, abuse of power, intimidation and bullying by twenty former employees of his dance group Troubleyn back in 2018. At the time, Fabre was an artist of great international stature. The work of the Antwerp-born multidisciplinary artist was exhibited in the Louvre in Paris and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, among other places. In 2003, he redecorated the ceiling of the great hall of the Belgian Royal Palace. ​

The court will rule on the case on Friday 29 April. The prosecution is demanding three years for sexual assault, intimidation and sexual harassment in the workplace and for assaulting the pubic area of one person. The defence requests an acquittal.

© BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM: Lawyer An-Sofie Raes and lawyer Christine Mussche pictured at the start of the trial of artist and theater maker Jan Fabre before the Antwerp criminal court in the so-called 'Fabre' case, Friday 25 March 2022.


Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels