Two advocacy groups in France have united to issue a joint statement regarding the homophobic abuse French Eurovision contender Bilal Hassani has received.
The 19 year-old singer, who is openly gay, received a huge amount of hate and abuse from online trolls after it was announced that he would represent France in the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in Israel this year.
The singer has been targeted with over 1,500 homophobic comments on Twitter. Two French-based advocacy groups – SOS Homophobie and Urgence Homophobie – have announced that they will file a report of every instance of online abuse Hassani has received.
The joint statement read:
“Following the shocking wave of hatred facing Bilal Hassani, SOS Homophobie and Urgence Homophobie are teaming up to target every person who has insulted, discriminated or threatened Bilal Hassani on social networks.”
— Eurovision (@Eurovision) January 26, 2019
The groups continued:
“The words that can be read against him are unworthy, unacceptable and will not go unpunished.
“All these tweets will be subject to complaints, all without exception. We’re not going to let anything go. Bilal Hassani is an example to many young people: he is owed respect. Shame must change sides.
“Lesbophobia, transphobia, biphobia, but also racism, homophobia and queerphobia are not an opinion but a crime.”
Hassani was chosen to represent France, one of the Eurovision’s ‘Big 5’ countries, after winning the televised selection show Destination Eurovision with his song ‘Roi’ earlier this week.
Hassani spoke to Billboard last year about the challenges he faced when he first tried to break into the music industry:
“They tried to make me sound like some kind of teen pop star, like a Justin Bieber format. I’m not really against that, I think it can be cool, but I always fought with that. So I sort of got blacklisted from everything.”
With regards to the homophobic abuse Hassani has received, he maintains that his successful entry into the song contest is the “best response to the haters”.
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