At the start of this month, we shared with you that France will be represented by a gay, Muslim, crossdressing teen at this year’s Eurovision.
But while Bilal Hassani is breaking barriers, and being welcomed by Tel Aviv, some parts of Israel are not so happy to have him.
A yet-to-be-aired episode of comedy Douze Points is supposedly set to make a dangerous statement about France, Islam, and Hassani.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the miniseries has a main character named TJ. TJ is a gay Muslim man from North Africa, like Bilal Hassani, who becomes France’s rep for the international singing contest.
But then, TJ is “being blackmailed by ISIS. The singer has to face a homophobic terrorist, sensational tabloids, obsessive Mossad agents and various questionable characters on his way to win through music, freedom and love.”
Despite the ironic turn of fate with Bilal Hassani, Israeli public broadcaster KAN still plans to air the comedy show in May while the real Eurovision is airing.
“We’re planning to air the show, it has long been planned to be part of our Eurovision programming,” said a spokeswoman. “The French delegation didn’t say anything to us about it – but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it had heard that they were concerned.”
Rumors started to spread that the French Delegation was threatening to boycott Eurovision over Douze Points, but the delegation denies this statement.
On Wednesday, officials form the French public broadcaster told the French news outlet Télé Loisirs that those rumors were unfounded.
“The entire French delegation is working with Bilal Hassani to prepare for the final, [which is] scheduled for May in Tel Aviv,” the statement read. “We are in regular contact with the European Broadcasting Union… in the context of these discussions, we discussed the Douze Points project – which we first learned existed last week.”
“Freedom of expression is of paramount importance to the EBU as is the reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest,” it said. “It is essential that the EBU safeguards both of these on behalf of its members, not least, all participating countries and contestants.” The EBU said that it is “engaged in constructive discussions” with KAN “to ensure a mutually satisfactory outcome.”
The KAN spokeswoman doubled down on this perspective by saying the delegation “never threatened to boycott. We told [the EBU] that we never intended to offend anyone, it’s a comedic show.”
h/t: The Jerusalem Post,