We don’t know each other. Please feel free not to read this email, I don’t want to intrude.

I can’t tell you what exactly it is, but there is something in these accusations against Jan Fabre that makes my strongly feel that that is not the whole story.

I have filmed a lot with Jan Fabre especially for my long documentary 2002-2003 and have attended a lot of rehearsals and gallery opening parties, première parties, we have spent late evenings with his dancers in his hotel room in Paris celebrating and discussing art and he spoke his mind but he could also take when we were criticizing him or even making fun of him. His two female assistants, Katrien Bruyneel and Barbara De Coninck, were and are never afraid to confront him with their opinions neither the other people I saw with him.

In the last years I am doing more social and non-cultural films and haven’t filmed with Jan Fabre, but I have met him and his company when they came to Berlin and on other occasions and there was a very good atmosphere.

In my young years as a model in Paris and before and later I have experienced sexual harassment, and refusals cost me jobs sometimes. I have never ever experienced any kind of that with Jan Fabre. When we first met this long film about him was my big dream, it would be my first long film and he wanted to get to know me to decide whether to take the risk to do a 75 minutes film including other artists, he was friend with, as Marina Abramovic, Mike Figgis (that was the idea of the film). After diner with his assistant Katrien he asked me if I wanted to have a drink with him and of course I wanted. He didn’t force me to drink wine, I wanted it and when there was a moment in which he said that I was very beautiful and attractive I just said that I was not interested and he accepted it easily without his mood changing or without making it a condition to do the film. He even laughed a lot when I said that I was married anyway and that what he needed more was I making this great film about him than me going out with him. We talked the whole night alone at his place and there was not one awkward second. Later in the year when he came to Berlin he met my husband and we spend some great hours together.

During the filming and later I have seen a lot of women from the art and theatre world approaching Jan and flirting with him, I have seen many women admiring him. He is not an ugly filthy man like Weinstein, but generous, open minded, with a great humour and of course his tempers and of course also dancers were actively flirting with him.

In the years that I have worked as a dance critic for German public radio and arte metropolis TV I have seen choreographers, directors, fashion directors clearly humiliating women, being unable to communicate with them in a straightforward way, even hating them. Jan Fabre, as I experienced him, is not one of them. Of course I don’t know what happened with Jan Fabre and the dancers and I can only speak for myself and for what I have seen, but as necessary the #metoo debate is – my daughter who has just finished school and is modeling for a year just changed her agency in New York because the boss was harassing models – it is sometimes very difficult to get to know the truth.

With all my best wishes,

Caroline Haertel