With Church Bells and Hashtags, the Netherlands Backs Its Eurovision Act

At noon on Tuesday, some church bells and carillons in the Netherlands didn’t sound like they usually do. Rather than solemnly tolling, they played the melody of “Europapa,” the song that was supposed to be the Dutch entry in the Eurovision Song Contest final this past Saturday.

Dutch radio stations are also regularly playing the three-minute pop song, and some fans have added the hashtag “JusticeforJoost” to their social media accounts.

Support is strong in the Netherlands for Joost Klein, the singer behind “Europapa,” who was a preshow favorite among Eurovision fans and bookmakers until he was disqualified just hours before the final in Malmo, Sweden.

Eurovision’s organizer, the European Broadcasting Union, barred Klein from taking part after an “incident” during which he showed “threatening behavior directed at a female member of the production crew,” it said in a statement.

The E.B.U. called in the Swedish police to investigate, although details of the incident remain elusive. But support for Klein seemed to get only stronger in the Netherlands since Saturday’s bombshell announcement, thanks to a general belief, promoted by the Dutch public broadcaster, that Klein did not commit an offense large enough to justify the disqualification.

AVROTROS, the broadcaster that had picked Klein to represent the Netherlands, responded to the E.B.U.’s decision on Saturday with a statement calling it “very heavy and disproportionate.”

The statement added that a camerawoman who filmed Joost when he came offstage after a semifinal on Thursday had kept recording when the singer “repeatedly indicated” that he did not want to be filmed. That had violated “clearly made agreements,” the statement added, and “led to a threatening movement from Joost towards the camera,” though it added that Klein did not touch the camerawoman.

A spokeswoman for the Swedish police said a prosecutor would soon decide whether to charge Klein.

But Sweden’s justice system moves slower than some Dutch Eurovision fans, many of whom have already made up their minds. Many concurred with Appie Mussa, a popular Dutch TikToker who was part of Klein’s act, who said in a video on Tuesday that Klein had done “basically nothing.”

The radio station 3FM took up the cause and organized Tuesday’s bell-ringing campaign in a show of solidarity — even though the track’s 160-beat-per-minute tempo makes it hard to play on a carillon.

“You just want to hear that song echo through the Netherlands,” Wijnand Speelman, a radio D.J. who hosts a morning show, said in an interview.

Klein has not made any public statements since he was disqualified, apart from a montage video of dogs set to the song “Who Let the Dogs Out,” which he posted, unexplained, to Instagram on Saturday night. Through AVROTROS, the broadcaster, he declined an interview request.

Speelman said that 3FM, the radio station where he has worked for about 15 years, was playing “Europapa” about once every three hours. That is a lot for any song, let alone a Eurovision entry.

“Joost appeals to a whole new audience,” Speelman said. “And that new audience was really looking forward to the finale of the Song Contest.”

Klein already had a fan base in the Netherlands before the Eurovision flap, largely thanks to his YouTube channel, on which he is known as UnicornJoost.

Yet some of Klein’s newfound supporters seemed to be rallying around him for other reasons.

His disqualification was not the only thing rocking this year’s Eurovision, with pro-Palestinian protests before the final and heightened security for Israel’s contestant, Eden Golan, whom some activists had campaigned to be barred from the competition because of her country’s war in Gaza.

Shortly after the incident with the camerawoman is said to have taken place, Klein had a combative exchange with Golan during a news conference.

After footage of the news conference appeared online, a conspiracy theory emerged on social media that Israel was responsible for Klein’s disqualification. The E.B.U. responded in a statement that “the version of events released in some public comments and on social media does not correspond with the statements shared with us and the Swedish police by staff and witnesses.”

Investigators will also undoubtedly review the footage that the camerawoman was shooting at the time of the incident, which the E.B.U. has not released.

“Nobody knows what happened, but everyone’s judging,” said Joris Hentenaar, a longtime cameraman from the Netherlands who has experienced his fair share of altercations while filming.

“I find it bizarre that there are no images,” he added. “When does that still happen in this day and age?”

Alex Marshall contributed reporting.

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