What If…Azerbaijan had given 10 points to Russia?

Jan Ola Sand and Sietse Bakker, the executive supervisor and event supervisor of the Eurvision Song Contest, have issued a statement expressing their support for Eurovision’s vast LGBT fan base. “Intolerance towards the LGBT community is a growing concern amongst Eurovision Song Contest fans,” they write. “We hear you, and we share your concern.”

They were writing in response to an open letter published by Eurovision Ireland, which spelled out how Russia’s anti-gay laws stand at odds with the values of the Eurovision Song Contest. Sand and Bakker make it clear that Eurovision is not a platform on which to boss foreign governments around. But they hint strongly that they would continue to support the gay community, even if Eurovision went to Russia in 2015.

“[Eurovision] is one of the most powerful tools in Europe to bring people together, no matter their cultural background, the color of their skin or their sexual orientation,” they write. “That belief is one of the values we will never let go of, wherever we go.”

You can read the full text of the letter below.

Screen shot 2013-08-15 at 18.52.56

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Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)

27 Comments
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Something
Something
7 years ago

@D Thank you for your reply that is much kinder and warmer than the last one. 🙂 I have to apologize if I expressed myself the wrong way, either. I’ve presented many thoughts of mine, so they might have mixed up a little bit. I don’t believe Krista did that kiss to provoke some people, but I do believe most of people do that to provoke (like gay kisses on some important public meetings with pope of Catholic Church). However, I will also admit that there are some singers all over the world who are ready to do that just… Read more »

D
D
7 years ago

@Something …All that I’m saying is that the comment about how same-sex couples kiss in public just to make others uncomfortable, could to be taken offensively, that’s all I meant and I am sorry. English is not my first language even though I speak it fluently so sometimes I will make mistakes with words and such. Yes, I am aware that Sweden along with other Nordic countries are sometimes perceived as “atheist countries” but not everyone here believes in that. Sweden is home to many immigrants who brought different religions and cultures to the country along with some ethnic Swedes… Read more »

Something
Something
7 years ago

@D Hey, my friend, what happened here? Me, being intolerate to gay community? Since when? Please, quote me! Thank you for respecting my opinion and also for honestly and openly claiming how I have some serious issues. I, on the other side, think that you are entitled to your own opinion, but also that you are not crazy or stupid at all – it is actually good to use your own head to think. More you use it, better and smarter you will be! So, keep it up! My friend, try to understand that not everyone has the same opinion… Read more »

D
D
7 years ago

@Something …Well you clearly are a lost cause so I’m not gonna even fight with you, but public display of affection is not uncommon where I’m from and also in many other countries, so I don’t know if that’s just your country’s beliefs or whatever so yeah. Some of your comments could be taken offensively, I respect that you have an opinion, but maybe in the future, if it has the possibility of offending some people, keep it to yourself. For example, if you lived in Sweden (where I come from) or my neighbouring countries, Norway, Denmark, or Iceland, people… Read more »

Something
Something
7 years ago

@D Whatever Krista’s reason was, she should have known that is insulting to certain group of people! I don’t think that ALL public gay kisses are provocative, but the number of those that are is too big. For example, why do you think gay couples were kissing during the visit of pope Benedict XVI. or pope Francis to other country? Because they love each other? They already know and believe in their love. They did that just to try to provoke him. As for public heterosexual kisses, I didn’t say they are okay, either. They surely do not insult anyone,… Read more »

D
D
7 years ago

@Something …I guess you didn’t catch the memo that the reason Krista did the lesbian kiss was to show her support for the legalisation of gay marriage in Finland. “However, most of gay people do gay kisses on public places just to insult and mock what is sacred to other people – that is the real problem here.” I particularly found that statement disgusting….do straight people kiss in public just to show gay couples “Haha we can get married while you can’t”? No, at least, I hope they don’t. And gay people don’t kiss in public just to insult and… Read more »

Something
Something
7 years ago

@Padraig Jude You are right only about one thing: that you are completely wrong about me. First of all, I didn’t say it was EBU’s intention to insult anyone. Of course it wasn’t. There is a possibility that they decided to ignore a part of their fanbase and not care what they think (which easily results with them being insulted), but that is not the same thing. Also, don’t mix apples and pears. Me not bringing up Alyona’s outfit or Koza Mostra’s song about alcohol does not mean I approve it. Whether I approve it or not is my personal… Read more »

Padraig Muldoon
Admin
7 years ago

@Something It’s not just the EBU who have asked for clarity in relation to the law. The worlds two biggest sporting organisations – the soccer governing body FIFA and the International Olympic Committee have also raised questions, as have many governments. Really your argument has no basis. Nobody is “promoting” gay acts. The contest is merely reflective of the modern diverse society we live in. It is bizarre that you suggest the EBU should purposely set out to offend LGBT people. Why? As far as I’m aware it is not the EBU’s intention to insult anyone. It isn’t their problem… Read more »

Something
Something
7 years ago

I am okay with the fact that LGTB community happens to be the majority of Eurovision fanbase, but I am not okay with possible insultion of the remaining minority. As you said, we are all one. Why not try to offend LGTB community through the show, as well? Could you ever expect that to happen on Eurovision show? Not really… And it is not really a family/friends show anymore with a tone like this… More like a show for gay couples… Don’t get me wrong, but I do not plan to watch an insultive program with my family or friends… Read more »

James Puchowski
7 years ago

I might be a bit late to comment, but let me just say a few words to vent out my frustration. All in all, the Eurovision Song Contest is a media franchise which has a healthy and happy fanbase of families and also young people, many of which are liberal, euro-friendly and openly LGBT. We find this with all sorts of competitions in every country. Music is essentially a medium of self expression, so we should expect people to be themselves. What must also be understood is the political responsibilities of the Contest. If any of you have watched a… Read more »

Something
Something
7 years ago

If EBU promotes all cultures and invites everyone into its big family, then please explain me the performances of Krista and Petra Mede on Eurovision 2013! I have nothing against gay people, in fact, they have right to live however they want and I am not hating them. However, don’t forget about many religious groups who strictly disprove any gay acts (not gay people, but gay acts), so obviously gay kisses on national TV (for a possible show for kids) is insultive and inappropriate. Why couldn’t we see a promotion of values like, for example, love to One and Allmighty… Read more »

Julian
Julian
7 years ago

Problem should be solved globally and at a broader level. I would be in favour of group marriage rights (defined as 2 or more). This would all comprehensive in terms of marriage. As regards to music and activism be it LGBT rights, ecology, right to bear guns, or whatever… there is always room for, music is a very powerful instrument and if world is a stage Eurovision the more is.

Emily
Emily
7 years ago

@martik – How disgusting. Face it, what people call ‘normal’ will always be changing.

Charles
Charles
7 years ago

@Martik: I have one question? In which planet have you been living in for the last (1998, 1999, 2000, ….) 14 years? Because we’re in 2013 and it wasn’t Corinne Hermes representing Luxembourg or Toto Cotugno representing Italy who won this year’s edition. Now … read in the between the lines if you have any brain left down there. 🙂 Not wanting Eurovision to be exclusively a gay-loved contest and stating that the Russian issues against homosexuality is not of EBU’s concern showcases stupidity, lack of human sence and sensivity and a prooves you haven’t been following the show properly.… Read more »

martik
martik
7 years ago

OMG, have sex with women and you will not have problem with this law in Russia. Why Eurovision fans must comment this situation? It is problem for Russian people, not for Eurovision fans. I hate, when somebody thinks Eurovision = gay contest. I am not gay, thanks god, and it insults me, if someone connect Eurovision with gay community. OK, you can be fans, but don’t scream – I am ESC fan and I am gay, heeey, can you see me, will we make a pride? It is very sad for common fans. And this commenting of Russian’s law has… Read more »

Sarah S
Sarah S
7 years ago

Any country that comes top 5 with jury or televoters should automatically qualify. Fill in the rest with the combined score.

Angus Quinn
Angus Quinn
7 years ago

So predictably they’ve said nothing. Not that im surprised, if the EBU were at all politically inclined they’d have booted out the dictatorships altogether. but it isnt, Eurovision is about inclusivity, and it’s an education for some. Iewers – it opens eyes since you have to broadcast the whole show. You’d hope if God forbid it is Moscow 2015 some brave soul like Krista delivers a statement performance. Everyone saw Krista’s kiss, and it might have cost her points, but it made a point, even if it was directed at her native Finland on the far less troubling issue of… Read more »

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

If the new scoring system (where the jury ranks all countries in the semifinal/final before the averaging of the jury and televotes) remains in place, this may really hurt Russia. I’d imagine there might be some last-place protests from some juries over this policy for Russia, with similar results for LGBT televoters unwilling to vote for Russia. That being said, I still really hope they revert to the scoring system of 2012, because disasters like Montenegro missing the final despite 4th place in televote and Ireland finishing last despite 13th (?) place in televote were just unacceptable. Either that or… Read more »

Zachary Thomas
7 years ago

ESCritic, while you make valid points, I don’t think Russia has anything to worry about in terms of results. They’ve got enough eastern nations to vote for them that they’ll still find a way to make the top 10 somewhat easily. While I don’t see them winning anytime soon, they’ll keep doing somewhat well, due to allies like Belarus and Azerbaijan blindly voting for them.

ESCritic
7 years ago

The days of Russia being a viable, competitive country with Top 10 finishings are over. It is unique in the aspect that not only the new laws are hated in a political sense, but it alienates and puts off a huge demographic of ESC fans and voters. We’ve seen the UK received its nil points in 2003, in which some analysts said the UK’s role in the Iraq War played a part in such a poor showing. We’ve potentially and recently seen this in Malmo when Germany placed badly with some pundits citing Germany’s unpopular actions in dealing with the… Read more »

David Thielen
7 years ago

I’m starting to think this is going to blow up in Russia’s face big time. Pretty clearly most of the sports articles right now are about this and not whatever games are being played there right now. The Olympics next year will be as much about Russia’s laws as it will the sports.

They’re going to be showcased all right. But as a country of bigotry.

Isolera
Isolera
7 years ago

What if Russia chose to bury their gun…

Marion
Marion
7 years ago

Eurovision is for everyone

Fikri
Fikri
7 years ago

men, that’s it? i was expecting some countries to be banned or something.

Charles
Charles
7 years ago

I wish this had been already an explicit response to the shameful events ocurring back in 2009 during the edition in Moscow. And what saddens me is that countries like Russia or Azerbaijan are always so desperate to win this whole thing just for the sake of political and social propaganda. They have a lot to evolve from a cultural and spiritual perspective if ever they wanna be taken seriously and feel respected by the rest of Europe. And it’s pity their mentality still needs to take a long road to follow in order to change into a more tolerable… Read more »

David Thielen
7 years ago

If Russia wins next year, can EBU offer hosting to the 2nd place country so that people can attend the contest?