Russia has not threatened to ban Ireland’s Eurovision 2018 music video. Speaking to wiwibloggs at Wednesday’s Eurovision Conference in Maynooth University, the Irish Head of Delegation Michael Kealy confirmed that the recent talk of a broadcast ban was just speculation.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s just a rumour. No one has said anything to me about it… I would be disappointed if that was the case. But so far it’s just a rumour”.
This news will undoubtedly set many concerned fans at ease, but where did the rumour come from in the first place?
It all started with a tweet. On Monday evening, Ireland’s Eurovision 2018 singer Ryan O’Shaughnessy took to the micro-blogging site writing “The Russians are now threatening a broadcasting ban because of my video for ‘Together’. Anti-gay propaganda regime at its finest! Hilarious if you ask me.. #IDareYou”.
The tweet linked to a video from the LGBT YouTube channel Pinksixty. The clip discusses the gay-themed Irish music video and suggests that it “could” fall foul of Russia’s infamous anti-gay propaganda law. The host makes no reference to any threats and offers no evidence to back up his theory.
— Ryan O'Shaughnessy (@Ryan_Acoustic) March 12, 2018
Many Twitter users were quick to pour cold water on Ryan’s original tweet. For instance, why would Russia ban his relatively tame music clip yet allow Finland’s? The “Monsters” video sees the openly lesbian Saara Aalto lead a troupe of gay men in three minutes of glittery debauchery.
And less than one year after the law came into being, bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst was beamed into millions of Russian homes as she won Eurovision 2014 for Austria. There were angry petitions and protests, but no broadcast ban.
However, several mainstream outlets have been less discerning. The Irish Independent, The Irish Examiner, Metro, Pink News and more latched on to the tweet. And their sensationalist headlines have caused the non-story to become significantly bigger than it actually is.
Music video aside, Michael Kealy also hinted that the gay love story would feature in the stage show for Lisbon.
In the same wiwibloggs interview, the Irish HoD alluded to the song’s universal theme of love saying “I would be surprised if you didn’t see it translated to the stage in some way”.
— Padraig Muldoon (@JustPadraig) March 14, 2018
The full in-depth interview with Michael Kealy will be uploaded to the wiwibloggs YouTube channel in the coming days. Other topics discussed include the staging challenges in a year without LED screens, Ireland’s new selection process, and Michael’s Eurovision future.