Winning Destination Eurovision should have been a happy ending for him.
But in the weeks since he won, France’s 19-year-old Eurovision act Bilal Hassani has faced attack after attack.
The 2019 representative has told French publication Le Parisien that his social media accounts have been besieged by homophobic and racist messages, and he will be taking legal action:
“All this reaches me, it hurts me, it saddens me, but I am even more determined to answer all these haters, to file a libel suit.”
The legal action is supported by French LGBTQ+ groups including Stop Homophobie and Urgence Homophobie, who have identified more than 1500 hateful messages on Twitter. Messages have also focused on his Muslim background.
The organisations have pledged to pursue the perpetrators of the hate speech on social media. Over 200 complaints were made to French courts in January alone. With legal action underway, Bilal and his lawyer hope focus can return to the road to Eurovision.
But despite the hate, there is also love. Bilal recieved a manifesto of support – signed by both Yacine Djelbenouar, the president of Muslim LGBT organisation Shams France and Alain Beit, the president of Jewish LGBT orginisation Beit Haverim.
Communiqué : Bilal HassaniNous, présidents de Shams France – association pour les personnes LGBT+ du Maghreb et du…
The communiqué praises Bilal and is scathing in criticism of trolls on social media:
“Bilal Hassani defends the right to freedom, the love of equality and his desire for brotherhood. He represents the dignity of France. These are the same values we defend within Shams France and the Beit Haverim and these are the values that bring us together.”
wiwibloggs salutes Bilal Hassani for his poise and courage, and for rising up to show the world that the only place he is going is forward to Eurovision in Israel in May.
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