The singer of Ireland’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest has lashed out at reports that Russia may ban his song’s broadcast because it features a same-sex couple.
Last week, Ireland unveiled its entry for the 2018 competition; the track Together by Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ryan O’Shaughnessy.
The video for the touching love song features a male same-sex romance, as portrayed by dancers Alan McGrath and Kevin O’Dwye, dancing together through the streets of Dublin.
There are now concerns that the video and performance of the song, if it also features a same-sex couple, could fall foul of Russia’s so called “gay propaganda” law.
Russia is one of the countries that competes in and broadcasts the Eurovision Song Contest – the longest-running annual international TV song competition. The contest’s rules oblige each country to broadcast the show without any censorship.
“The Russians are now threatening a broadcasting ban because of my video for ‘Together’,” commented O’Shaughnessy on Twitter. “Anti-gay propaganda regime at its finest! Hilarious if you ask me.. #IDareYou.”
He also posted a photoshopped picture of himself holding hands with President Putin, with a heart that reads “BFF”, along with the comment: “From Russia with Love”.
Russian politicians, including Putin, and the Orthodox Church were outraged when bearded Austrian drag singer Conchita Wurst won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. Some declared it “the end of Europe” and called for Russia to pull out of the competition.
The year before, Putin had signed the federal law banning gay “propaganda” to “protect” children, which has been used to restrict press freedom and music concerts, to ban Pride events and protests and has led to an increase in violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
The finals of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on 12 May in Lisbon.
The Russians are now threatening a broadcasting ban because of my video for ‘Together’. Anti-gay propaganda regime at its finest! Hilarious if you ask me.. #IDareYouhttps://t.co/6j1ECrdLBi