Earlier this week, in an interview with Spanish media, Barei revealed that Hovi Star had been on the receiving end of humiliating treatment from border guards at Moscow airport. Hovi was recently a guest on a Maltese talkshow where he discussed the incident.
Hovi started by describing the experience, saying he wasn’t exactly sure why he was targeted.
“In Moscow, people have a rough time with people like me, maybe because I’m gay, maybe because I dress like this, maybe because I wear makeup – I don’t know. But when I wanted to get into Moscow, I had problems with the passport control and they told me I can’t go in. They looked at my passport — they ripped my passport — and then they laughed at me.”
The Israeli singer also discussed how surprised he was that the incident happened while travelling a Eurovision event:
“It’s amazing that this happened in the Eurovision bubble. My song, “Made of Stars”, it talks about equality. It talks about how everyone is the same, everybody was born the same, everybody will die the same. And I always say, give love — it’s free. There’s no need for hate, there’s no need for negativity. And I choose to really take it as a lesson.”
But he’s not holding any grudges, and especially holds no ill will against Russia’s artist Sergey Lazarev:
“I don’t take it personally. I have to tell you, I really like Sergey Lazarev, I really like his song, and I like Russia. I’ve been there many times. But it wasn’t a nice experience, but we live, we learn, we continue, we smile and we give free love to everyone.”
Hovi Star on Moscow Airport homophobia
News of the incident first came to light when Barei explained the incident in a recent interview in Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. The Spanish singer said she felt so embarrassed when the guards at the passport control began laughing at Hovi because he was wearing makeup.
“They laughed at him and they left his passport invalid, and then they didn’t even look at any of the passports from the others”, Barei commented. She was even prepared to make a scene.
Following this situation, Barei said that if she was gay, she wouldn’t vote for Russia at Eurovision.
Stating that she doesn’t have anything against Sergey Lazarev — although his song is not her cup of tea — Barei said that “seeing how gays are treated, I wouldn’t vote for Russia if I were gay”.
The Russian airport incident has fans concerned. With Sergey Lazarev a favourite to win Eurovision, LGBT Eurovision fans are concerned about how they would be treated if they travelled to a potentially Russian-hosted Eurovision in 2017. However, the EBU requires that all host countries sign an agreement guaranteeing the safety of all those going to Eurovision.