Ireland’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest has lashed out at reports that the eastern European nation of Russia may ban his song’s broadcast because it features a same-sex couple.
Last week, Ireland unveiled its entry for the 2018 competition, titled Together the track is performed by Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ryan O’Shaughnessy.
The video for the emotional love song features a male same-sex romance, as portrayed by dancers Alan McGrath and Kevin O’Dwye, dancing through the streets of Dublin together.
However, concerns have arisen that due to the video and performance of the song, featuring the same-sex couple, could breach anti-gay legislation in Russia, specifically their so-called “gay propaganda” law.
Russia who both competes and broadcasts the Eurovision Song Contest is contractually obliged under the competition’s rules 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.”
In response to the proposed censorship, the singer has 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, with some declaring it “the end of Europe” and called for Russia to boycott the competition.
The year before, prior to Wurst’s win, 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 gay Pride events and protests and has led to an increase in violence and discrimination against LGBTI people.
The finals of the Eurovision Song Contest will take place on the 12th of May in Lisbon.
— Ryan O’Shaughnessy (@Ryan_Acoustic) March 12, 2018
From Russia with Love pic.twitter.com/MAdN5qmkBe
— Ryan O’Shaughnessy (@Ryan_Acoustic) March 14, 2018