Ballet Director Responds to Bad Review With Feces Attack

The confrontation took place in Germany

Marco Goecke, 2019
Marco Goecke in 2019.
Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

The late writer and problematic fave Isaac Asimov once divided writers into two camps: “those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review” and “those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.” The same is true for just about anyone working in any creative discipline — from visual art to fine dining. And it’s understandable why this is the case; after all, no one wants to get a bad review for their work.

Still, if you’re on the receiving end of a bad review, there are better and worse ways to respond. For some creative types, a bad review can be grounds for snark; for others, it might result in something a little more tangible. And then there’s the way Marco Goecke is accused of responding to a bad review, which may well signify a new low. Why? Well, while some artists may have responded to bad reviews with ill-chosen words or deeds, few have gone after the offending critic armed with fecal matter.

The Guardian has more details on the incident. Marco Goecke is the ballet director of the Hanover State Opera, and apparently he took umbrage to a review that Wiebke Hüster had written in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of the production In the Dutch Mountain. According to the article, Goecke approached Hüster, raised his voice to her and eventually wiped feces on her face. There’s been some speculation in the media that the substance was, in fact, the feces of Goecke’s dog.

Goecke is currently barred from the opera house where the confrontation took place.

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“When I felt what he had done, I screamed,” Hüster said of the incident, which is a completely understandable reaction.

It’s probably worth clarifying here: this is absolutely reprehensible behavior on Goecke’s part. It is entirely understandable to feel angry over a bad review. It is, however, utterly irrational to act like a toddler and attack someone with shit. Write an angry letter; post something smarmy on social media. But if you ever find yourself asking the question, “Is it worth it to attack someone with feces over a bad review,” the answer is very simple: no, it’s not. Take a few deep breaths and move on.

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