On December 27, shortly after Eneda Tarifa won Albania’s Festivali i Këngës 54, Eurovision fans went into overdrive on social media. They weren’t just assessing Eneda’s winning song “Përrallë” (Fairytale). They were shining a very bright light on controversial comments Eneda made in 2014 about Conchita Wurst. Those comments may be old, but they have offended a number of Eurofans and left some throwing accusations of homophobia. (Please note: we said accusations). As this old news recirculates on Twitter, in the comments section of YouTube, and in various Facebook groups devoted to Eurovision, we thought we’d review what actually went down.

Eneda on Conchita Wurst

On May 8, 2014 — the day of the second semi-final at Eurovision 2014 — Eneda posted these two images. You’ll recognise them from Conchita Wurst’s official music video for “Rise Like a Phoenix”.

Her caption read: “Is this really the Eurovision? Hahahah are you kidding? Where are we heading? Where is the music? Where is the music hidden?”

 

 

Journalists in Albania immediately seized on her comments. Kristi Pinderi, a journalist and leading gay activist, sent an open letter to Eneda. He had interviewed her several years earlier and wanted to apologise, in his words, for mistaking her for a singer with a brain.

Later that day, Eneda responded on Facebook with the following message. She wrote that she was “against any kind of sexual, political, religious, regional or racial exhibitionism at the expense of art”. She re-positioned her earlier comments as a criticism against so-called “lobbying groups” — across “sexual affiliation, religious affiliation, regional affiliation, etc.”, arguing that they damage art.

 

Fast-forward to December 2015 — just hours after FiK54 — and Albanian web site Historia-IME.com republishes Eneda’s 18-month old comments. Cue the euro-drama and chatter on social media.

So is Eneda homophobic?

Eneda’s comments were unfortunate and perhaps insensitive, but they don’t necessarily make her homophobic. Before Conchita won over Europe at Eurovision 2014, a number of people — gay and straight — questioned the drag queen’s bid to win Eurovision. They thought she was exploiting a gimmick and that she wasn’t the best representative — or any representative — of the LGBT community.

Thankfully Conchita silenced the majority of her critics with her killer voice, amazing song and prolonged commitment to LGBT causes even after her win. People saw that she was a proper artist with a sincere message. Now that she’s a global icon and the poster child of tolerance in Europe, many critics have seen the light — or at least moved on. The sight of a bearded lady isn’t that shocking any more, suggesting that it is Conchita who has had the last laugh. Perhaps Eneda has reached a similar conclusion.

In fact, subsequent interviews with Eneda suggest that she may be more open-minded than her comments in 2014 suggest. She has stated in interviews that her children are free to have their own view and take their own decisions about their sexuality.

Will this affect her at Eurovision 2016?

Probably not. Those of us who live inside the Eurovision bubble — my hand is up! — sometimes think the drama and scandal that we obsess over automatically translates to the broader television viewing audience. It doesn’t. Most people tune in for a single night and judge the songs based on the song — not the artist’s Facebook record or alleged beliefs. Few of us can forget the drama that surrounded Armenia’s Aram Mp3 back in 2014. The pre-contest favourite landed in hot water after making comments that many took as transphobic and homophobic. But he and Conchita eventually reconciled at Eurovision in Concert. He finished in fourth place — and the majority of voters didn’t have a clue about the drama in the run-up to Copenhagen.

We suspect Eneda will be more concerned about revamping her song and deciding how she’ll cope without an orchestra.

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MoreMusicLessGlamourPlease
Guest
MoreMusicLessGlamourPlease

What a silly article! A non issue! Don’t give a damn what she thinks of gays or not – totally irrelevant!

Yohanna
Guest
Yohanna

People should know that when we comment on others, it is our personality through our actions and words that are noticed, and not whomever we are talking about.

trackback

[…] Waar is het verstopt?” Deze week werd het opgepikt door de Albanese media en inmiddels heeft heel Europa het erover. Een Albanese journalist stuurde zelfs een open brief naar de zangeres. Hij heeft […]

Bronson
Guest
Bronson

The sad thing about this article is the fact that this received more comments (which implies more attention) than the article about her actual victory. What happened to the music?

Julian
Guest
Julian

Thomas Neuwirth won because the song was good and his singing was very good. Otherwise the gimmick would just have brought him a top 10, maybe. Not sure why the fuss about Calm After the Storm. I have heard many versions of Rise Like a Phoenix in singing shows – X Factor, The Voice – and none of Calm After the Storm. And they were performed by singers with no LGBT connection either. About Eneda’s comments, ESC has become a “no gimmick no win” show, in the past 10 years at least. It doesn’t mean that best gimmick wins or… Read more »

Charles
Guest
Charles

The more emphasis we give to this (and yes William was right about how people have been jumping to false conclusions) the more focus we give to people and their words and … the more controversial the Conchita show becomes after almost 2 years … We still don’t understand how silence is a powerful tool for those who just draw attention to themselves by speaking their minds in the worst way possible and the more it proves that 2014 was a year in which instead of a song … a message, a character, a second intention actually won … giving… Read more »

Denis
Guest
Denis

Honestly, it looks like people have severe reading comprehensions based on the comments. The reason this is an article isn’t that they are PC or friends of LGBT or something, it’s because people are talking about her comments on other sites. Just look at the YouTube comments her video has. It’s only about how she is a homophobe and people must not vote for her. That’s what the author William is trying to tell, that it might be old but it’s talked about.He’s explaining why it’s talked about And if you all bothered to read the article BEFORE you comment(it’s… Read more »

esc_britain
Guest
esc_britain

Can you just stick to the normal Eurovision news, talking about the national selections and stuff… not this annoying talk which doesn’t need to be mentioned. If there is anything negative to post, can it just be about that ‘somebody has stepped down’ or ‘someone has been replaced’ instead of bringing up the accusations of a completely new singer to the Eurovision scene. I realised you commented that the post doesn’t state of Elena being homophobic – but really, if you thought she wasn’t being homophobic you wouldn’t of posted anything like this. Eurovision seems to be widely focused towards… Read more »

I HATE WIWIBLOGGS
Guest
I HATE WIWIBLOGGS

William, please shut down this site, shut down your PC and disappear from the Eurovision world. Who are you to judge who is homophobic? Who are you to judge what singer wear? You are nobody. All the singers deserve respect and not a bad words from your dirty mouth!

Stefan
Guest
Stefan

The main idea of Eurovision was to reconnect all the countries who were in war. Eurovision was never a gay thing and never will be. Some people don’t know or they don’t like to know what was the main idea of Eurovision. As a straight man and Eurovision fan i’m offended by all the fuss that is made by LGBT people. Where are the straight fans in this story? I feel that i’m discriminated. Let’s be clear i’m not homophobic and transphobic. In a few years Conchita will be totally forgotten, the same thing as Dana International.

Sara
Guest
Sara

Are you gonna completely ignore the accusations thrown at Måns last year, which indeed turned out not to be true?

Lanti
Guest
Lanti

Haven’t read the rest of the comment section, but it looks more like she wants to keep music and politics separate, and that she believed Conchita stepped too far into politics. And while she has a point (like how right now some people look at artists’ political beliefs/past comments rather than their music), I think the way she commented was a little off-putting for casual readers, making it look like she was trashing Conchita instead.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I’m really not bothered anymore the drama is just so boring. It’s a song contest….

Padraig Muldoon
Editor

Do any of you down below actually *READ* the article before embarking on your mini rants? So many of the comments have me facepalming, it’s crazy!

zipp
Guest
zipp

I am tired of this overreactig, oversensitive, dramatized gay queens that sacrifise their whole life for fighting against fantasized homophobia and fulfilling their sexual fantasies. I am gay myself but I feel pitty for this shallow environment.

Huh
Guest
Huh

There you go. You blew it again. Restoring what has been long gone and resolved. Great works for you people. Next thing we’ll know, there will be an Aram Mp3 Awards for the most Homophobic representative in the VMAs.

esc_britain
Guest
esc_britain

She is not homophobic. At the time she was probably just surprised, thinking that it was all just a gimmick (and Eurovision is one of the most known places for gimmicks) so does this really matter? She may not like Conchita, we never really know.. many of us hate people like Justin Bieber but some love him, even if we don’t know him. Everyone can have their own opinions, and her Facebook post didn’t mention anything homophobic. Besides, this whole post was a few years ago – does it really need to be bought up again? I’m sure by now… Read more »

Amerivision
Guest
Amerivision

You do realize it all started with Xoao on the other post, right?

MTD
Guest
MTD

I am completely on her side on this, and we all know why Conchita won, so shut up!

Griffin
Guest
Griffin

Is it important to re-live old news? it’s okay when it was matter but this??? oh come on, William.

somebody
Guest
somebody

If somebody said something bad to THE 2014 WINNER, then, let’s the witch hunt begin!
Wiwibloggs, THIS IS YOUR EDITORS LOGIC.

Steven
Guest
Steven

How is she transphobic? Conchita is a drag queen?

Graph
Guest
Graph

Can we officially declare a condition called homophobiaphobia?

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

or… are you all just salty that your dashuri diva Flaka didn’t make it to the ESC?
because that’s what it sounds like

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

okay so she didn’t like conchita
whatever
get over it
you guys didn’t think homens da luta was serious right
so are you automatically against the labour force and against traditional portuguese music
it doesn’t work that way

Denis
Guest
Denis

Alex, the reason we defend her is simple: cause there’s nothing to defend. There’s no argument here, people are reaching for straws. She just stating what many stated back in 2014 and still states: That the success and win of Conchita was more about it being a drag act and the message it stood for rather than being about the actual song itself. Everyone talked about Conchita, not about the song. And that kind of thinking/voting can risk the contest to lose it’s musical credibility since it proved that people didn’t care about the song but rather the message. The… Read more »

Heikki
Guest
Heikki

Wow. There’s a lot transphobic people here. I wanna puke.

It’s amazing to see gays (gays who don’t care about transphobia and homophobia) and non-gays trying to defend the indefensible.

I’m ashamed to be a human being.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I don’t really get her statement. She doesn’t consider Conchita art or what? As a drag queen, Conchita is ART from head to toe with a strong story and intention. She’s clearly making fun of Conchita in that first Facebook post and it looks like it’s because of Conchita’s appearance/her beard, which, in my opinion, this is ART in its purest form. She also could’ve made fun of Måns’ projection graphics this year, Emmelie’s drummers and confetti, Loreen’s dances or the pyro from 2011, if she’s so concerned about “art”… Also I don’t get why people try to defend Eneda… Read more »

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

My god, if she doesn’t like gimmicks then why is she here ? We get them all the time at the contest. Some are successful and some are not. And she had better practice convincing answers for those who think she is homophobic. She’s going to be questioned on it from now until May.

Steven
Guest
Steven

Would’ve been in mine too for Ireland Robyn

Mario = Legend
Guest
Mario = Legend

Not homophobic at all. She is saying all groups… Not just Conchita… Spoil the ‘art’ of music. It should just be about the music and song, and the voice. Conchita used a gimmick. Gained her more publicity than her song. ‘The bearded lady’. I agree with her. No gimmicks. No religious or politically motivated, or anything! No gimmicks in songs. Sorry but she wouldn’t have won without being the ‘Bearded Lady’ if she was normal drag act or Tom himself.

Ranting Ruby
Guest
Ranting Ruby

Love your work, Willy!

khm
Guest
khm

Oh c’mon! Of we continue to find stuff like this, than it would be the best to shut down Eurovision!

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Steven: A hilarious highlight of the 2014 voting! If I’d been on the UK jury, Poland would have been in my top 10 for sure.

Alex
Guest
Alex

i think she is not homophobic, she was just complaining about the gimmick like everyone else. after esc, most of conchita’s critics changed their opinion about her as she proved she is a great singer and her songs are very good. plus she is smart and funny.

I think we should judge Eneda based on her song, not her old comments.

Laburnum
Guest
Laburnum

If she is homophobic, that is fine. Dhe can express her own opinion without having to be judged for it. It also doesn’t mean people can’t hold it against her at Eurovision, it is not just for those who LGBT or tolerate it. And I don’t believe she is homophobic anyway. I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea of Conchita being at the contest because I thaught she would become a gimmick. But when she released the song I was pleasently surprised. She was my #3 in 2014. To those who who think she won purely because of her… Read more »

Österrike
Guest
Österrike

Hate against gays is a minor problem than the hate within the gay community itself. And I dont think she hates gays, she just was preoccupied about Conchita and silently backed off.

Eeeee
Guest
Eeeee

If she hates Conchita or trans people, she can say it. I hate Conchita too. It is democracy. Gays are thinking, we must love them all. Lol. You are so annoying.

AG
Guest
AG

She can say whatever she wants. I’m sick of these wanna be scandalous stories related to gay-something topics.

She has a full right to like or dislike Conchita because of Conchita’s appearance. Btw, Conchita is just one among many artists, and not some sort of untouchable queen just because Conchita is part of LGBT community.

Steven
Guest
Steven

When the polish argument is brought up I always hone back to the argument it won the UK & Irish televotes but magically got last in the jury vote *snorts and giggles*

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

why does everyone has to get and like what conchita does? for some people its not their cup of tea and nobody cares. Lets stop searching for controversy.

Notts
Guest
Notts

I don’t really care about her opinions (whatever these might be) and why should anyone be bothered with them. Just let her do her thing and stop being so freaking sensitive.
I kinda like the song though, I need to play it a couple times more to get used to it.

Leaf
Guest
Leaf

We are too concerned with being politically correct we cannot even have a single thought.
She can have an opinion on a topic as much as she wants, NONE of the contestant become world wide stars and she will certainly NOT win this year so ….

Let the blonde lady sing and let’s just get it over with !!!!

Denis
Guest
Denis

People are still taking about Conchita? it’s almost 2016 people, it’s not her show any-more. So what if she said something against her two winters ago? How does that have to do anything with the current show? Let’s not forget people weren’t to positive towards Conchita when she first was chosen. Some even said the same thing, that Conchita made attention due to being drag artist and having a message rather than having a good song. What’s so wrong with the statement? Some people are looking for scandals and conflicts when there are none to be found. Like Måns last… Read more »

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

If Eneda was so opposed to “sexual exhibitionism” at Eurovision 2014, I wonder why she didn’t speak out against the gratuitously ample-bosomed Polish dancers?

dutchie
Guest
dutchie

Conchita won Eurovision because of her persona, not because of her song. It was the Common Linnets who had a major hit with their song afterwards, not Conchita. No need to be overly politically correct about it, that’s just the way it is.

UOrated?
Guest

I agree with many people here. Charles, you have many good points!

Ben – The German singer was NOT dropped because he was “homophobic” or whatever. But because of a racist way of being. Which ARD found a not very clever move, German history you know….

A shame he was dropped as a German participant btw. He has many great songs.

Charles
Guest
Charles

And again … 2015 … 2016 … and it is still all about Conchita … and it will always be the Conchita show … and who is to blame? … Not hard to know … I personally understand Tarifa’s views and I don’t find them homophobic. Eurovision still has an issue called “music credibility” … and such issue comes as a result of the way fans express themselves about the selected music … instead of embracing diversity either upbeat or slowtempo … they secretly or implicitly want another LGBT big thing, another Russian granny, another Ukrainian drag queen, another female-dressed-Romanian-dracula… Read more »

D
Guest
D

She’s not homophobic and actually is a supporter of LGBT rights in Albania. All she’s saying is that you shouldn’t exploit a certain issue, such as homosexuality, to better yourself, rather than relying on pure talent, which I 100% agree with. She doesn’t like Conchita because she’s saying that Conchita’s win was largely due to the fact that it was a drag performance and the whole message behind that, not the song itself or Conchita’s talent. And I mean honestly, if the song was performed by a natural-born woman do you think it would’ve done as well as it did,… Read more »