Last night (May 10) was the first semi-final of the Eurovision 2016 and ten countries were voted through to Saturday’s main event. Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Armenia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Malta and favorite to win Russia will compete on Saturday (May 14).
As Saturday’s grand final draws nearer, gay Israeli entry Hovi Star has spoken up about Russia, bullying and the homophobic attack he suffered in an interview with Gay Star News.
Earlier this month we reported that Star was the victim of a homophobic attack in Russia when immigration officials ripped his passport apart. Speaking about Russia, Star says that people shouldn’t hate the country and shouldn’t blame Sergey, the singer representing Russia.
“I don’t believe that because the Russian government people doesn’t like gay people, they should punish the citizens of Russia,” he says. “I think one of the biggest audiences of Eurovision is based in Russia and I think it’s not fair to say, ‘They’re not going to get Eurovision, kick them out of the competition’ because I’ve heard these appalling things.”
Hovi was also asked about audience members booing Russian acts over the last couple of years since the introduction of a controversial anti-‘gay propaganda’ law in 2013.
“That’s not fair. If you’re thinking about booing anyone on stage not just Russia or Israel or anyone, then don’t come to Eurovision. You have to understand that I’m doing this for the first time in my life.”
He continues: “It’s not fair, Sergey is not the one that’s making the laws in Russia. He’s not the one that ripped my passport when I came to Russia.”
T|he 29-year-old also reveals how he handles the bullying he receives.
“Sadly it comes with a price,” he says. “Let me tell you something. Every time someone bullies me or tells me that I can’t do something or tells me that something is not right with how I look or who I am, I go the other way around…”
“I’ll be honest, sometimes not good things come out of this. When I was at school people beat me up, cursed me and sometimes I went home and I cried after because I didn’t want to go to school. But you have to wake up every morning and be strong.”
Star will make an appearance on Thursdays (May 12) second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest.
You can check out the full interview over at Gay Star News.