Bambie Thug calls on EBU bosses to show 'humanity' as Israel-Hamas war 'overshadows' event: Eurovision 2024

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Published Time: 11.05.2024 - 04:40:51 Modified Time: 11.05.2024 - 04:40:51

Bambie Thug, who will be the first Irish finalist since 2018, says they "cried" when they discovered Israel's Eden Golan had got through to the grand final, which will take place tonight

Bambie Thug, who will be the first Irish finalist since 2018, says they "cried" when they discovered Israel's Eden Golan had got through to the grand final, which will take place tonight.

Arts and entertainment reporter @BethanyMinelle

Saturday 11 May 2024 01:40, UK

Ireland's Eurovision entry, Bambie Thug, has called on the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to "gain some conscience" and "humanity," as the contest bosses struggle to keep politics off the stage at the annual competition.

The 31-year-old, who is non-binary and uses the pronouns "they" and "them", also said "they cried with their team" when they found out Israel had got through to the grand final of the contest.

Bambie is currently fifth favourite to win the competition with "ouija pop" song Doomsday Blue.

Israel's act, Eden Golan, will compete with her song Hurricane which was reworked after an initial version titled October Rain was ruled too political by the EBU, which believed some lyrics referred to the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel.

In March, Bambie was one of the nine contestantsincluding the UK's Olly Alexander, Finland's Windows95Man and Switzerland's Nemowho called for a ceasefire in Gaza and the "safe return" of Israeli hostages in a joint statement.

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Earlier in the week, Bambie said the EBU prevented them from displaying a pro-Palestinian message during their performance during the first semi-final.

They told reporters at an earlier news conference that they had been forced to change writing painted on their body which had been painted in an early Medieval alphabet which translated to "ceasefire and freedom".

At the time, a spokesperson for the EBU said: "The writing seen on Bambie Thug's body during dress rehearsals contravened contest rules that are designed to protect the non-political nature of the event.

"After discussions with the Irish delegation, they agreed to change the text for the live show."

Bambie said for the EBU to better handle future political issues it needed to focus on "gaining some heart and some conscience and some humanity".

They also said demonstrations and calls for Israel to be banned over their ongoing ground offensive in Gaza was "completely overshadowing" the contest.

They said: "It's an incredibly intense atmosphere, you know... I don't think it's sitting well with any of the contestants, to be honest."

There are more pro-Palestinian protests planned in Malmo to coincide with the Eurovision grand final, amid the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Police estimated more than 10,000 people took part in a march on Thursday.

During an earlier rehearsal on Wednesday, Golan was met with some boos and cries of "Free Palestine", and an audience member appeared to have a Palestinian flag removed from them in the auditorium.

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Separately, Spain's state-owned broadcaster hit out at the EBU on Friday, calling for it to respect "press and opinion" at this year's event.

RTVE wrote on social media: "The Spanish delegation from @eurovision_tve has conveyed to @EBU_HQ its commitment to freedom of the press and opinion and has asked that @Eurovision let them watch it."

The post was made shortly after it was announced that Madrid would be hosting the Junior Eurovision Song Contest later this year.

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Some 26 countries, including UK entry Olly Alexander, 33, with his track Dizzy, are due to battle it out for the coveted Eurovision glass trophy tonight.

Bambie also referred to an unexplained "incident" involving Netherlands act Joost which happened on Friday and resulted in him being "investigated" by the EBU and removed from the two grand finale rehearsals.

When asked if they and other acts were supportive of him, Bambie said: "I don't know what exactly happened with the incident, but I am with anyone who was pro-Palestine."

There is no indication that today's "incident" is linked to disagreements about the situation in the Middle East.

Joost had been part of the flag parade at the start of Friday's rehearsal, and walked around the stage in full costume, but then failed to arrive on stage for his performance around 30 minutes later.

He later failed to perform in the grand final jury votewhich is the final rehearsal before the real show.

The EBUwhich has said the investigation is "ongoing"is yet to confirm whether Joost will be performing in the grand final tonight.

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Bambie also said they were worried Ireland might miss out on votes due to the ongoing boycott to stop Eurovision.

They said: "I'm fearful that we will miss a lot of votes because of the boycotting, and that those then will make someone else have more of a chance to win.

"I don't think it should, but there are 200 million viewers."

They said people should vote for Bambie Thug "for art, for change, to shake things up and for best song, best performer in the competition".

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Croatia is currently predicted to win the contest, followed by Israel, with fellow non-binary contestant Nemo, who is competing for Switzerland, resting in third place.

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