Ireland’s Eurovision 2023 entry, Wild Youth, has cut ties with their creative director Ian Banham after his anti-trans and anti-vax tweets were brought to light. The band, made up of Conor O’Donohue, David Whelan, Ed Porter and Callum McAdam, announced its decision on Tuesday, April 25, just two weeks before they are due to compete in the song contest in May.
In a statement posted on social media, the group explained that it “stands for unity and kindness,” adding that their song ‘We Are One’ represents the members’ beliefs. For this reason, they confirmed that they “have cut all ties with Ian Banham and will not have him on or near” their team or Eurovision journey.
Wild Youth added that both RTÉ and its Executive Producer and Director of Entertainment, Michael Kealy, were made aware of Banham’s posts and were equally “horrified”, but the national broadcaster has yet to issue a public response.
— Wild Youth (@bandwildyouth) April 25, 2023
O’Donohoe, the band’s frontman, expanded on the group’s post, apologising with his “whole hurt to anyone who has been hurt or even had to read such horrible tweets.”
He described feeling sick reading Banham’s tweets and reemphasised: “He goes against everything I stand for”.
First off I want to apologise with my whole heart to anyone who has been hurt or even had to read such horrible tweets. He goes against everything I stand for , his tweets make me feel sick reading them. Writing this song and writing these lyrics was writing about what I believe… https://t.co/swwLMhNgZW
— Conor O Donohoe (@Conor_O_Donohoe) April 25, 2023
The band’s former Creative Director has been contacted by a number of news outlets since Wild Youth’s announcement, but he has yet to comment. His Twitter account has also been made private, protecting his tweets from users who are not approved followers.
Banham was revealed as the Creative Director for Ireland’s Eurovision 2023 performance in February, and he has been a choreographer on RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars for a number of years. He has also worked on Dancing on Ice, Got To Dance and So You Think You Can Dance, as well as with stars such as Kylie Minogue, Cheryl, Lily Allen, Westlife and more.
Wild Youth are expected to start rehearsals in Liverpool next week in preparation for the Eurovision semi-finals on Tuesday, May 9. Should they be successful, they will then progress to the Grand Final on Saturday, May 13, battling it out against entries from 36 other nations.
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