Controversial singer Xavier Naidoo will no longer represent Germany in next year’s Eurovision competition, following concerns around a number of homophobic and anti-semitic lyrics, which feature in many of his songs.
German public broadcaster ARD had announced earlier this week the R&B singer had been officially selected to represent the country in Stockholm next May, but following widespread public backlash in the country’s newspaper coverage and social media channels, ARD had a last minute change of heart.
In a public statement on the Eurovision website, ARD’s entertainment coordinator Thomas Schreiber, hailed Naidoo as a “brilliant singer”, and while he was certain the artist was “neither a racist nor homophobic”, he could not ignore the public’s position.
“It was clear that his nomination would polarise opinions, but we were surprised about the negative response,” he said.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a fun event, in which music and the understanding between European people should be the focus.
“This characteristic must be kept at all costs. The ongoing discussion about Naidoo could harm the image of the Eurovision Song Contest. This is why Naidoo will not represent Germany. We will quickly decide now, how the German entry for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest will be found.”
Leading the public backlash was newspaper Bild, who used its front page on Friday to challenge Naidoo’s selection.
Founder of well-known anti-racism group the Amadeu Antonio Foundation Anetta Kahane also described his selection as “problematic”.
In response to having his nomination withdrawn, the 44-year-old musician posted to Facebook that it was “okay for me” and stressed that ARD had urged him to compete in the first place.
He rejected criticism of his nomination, saying he represented a Germany that was “open to the world” and tolerant of different religions and lifestyles.
Naidoo’s 2012 song “Wo sind” (Where Are) was widely criticised across Germany for lyrics linking homosexuals and paedophiles.