He produced and composed ZENA’s “Like It” — Belarus’ entry for Eurovision 2019. But in recent days, Viktor Drobysh has caused controversy with a series of unsavoury social media posts.

On Wednesday Brunei is set to implement a new penal code which punishes homosexual sex and adultery with death by stoning. The move has been universally condemned, with the United Nations branding it “cruel and inhuman”.

Nonetheless, Viktor Drobysh felt it necessary to share his opinion on the matter over multiple social media platforms  — VK, Facebook and Instagram. The post was deleted from Instagram, as per Community Guidelines.

His post roughly translates as: “Finally! I therefore have a dream for an artist from Brunei to win Eurovision and for the contest to go to Brunei. That’s all! The business would change. Many new faces appear. In general, interesting. Although the death penalty is too much. Perhaps just a beating.”

However, matters didn’t end there. On Monday, Drobysh issued an unapologetic “apology”.

“I am upset that my ironic post about the new law of the government of Brunei caused such a fuss, and I want to apologise for the too dark humour, if it touched and hurt the feelings of sexual minorities. And to me, once again, was clear, what a big difference there is between gays and f*gs.”

The post was accompanied by a video of him jamming to Queen’s “I Want To Break Free”. He adds that LGBT icon Freddie Mercury is his favourite singer and that he has gay and lesbian friends, though he criticised those who practice “homosexual propaganda”.

The controversy has already impacted directly on Belarus’ Eurovision bid. At the time of writing, Belarus has tumbled from the 34th place with the bookmakers to last place. Some bookies have ZENA as low as 601/1 to win.

*Note, this does not represent the views of ZENA or other members of the Belarusian Eurovision team. They have yet to comment.

Who is Viktor Drobysh?

Viktor Drobysh is not just any songwriter. He is a household name in his native country Russia.

For nearly twenty years, Drobysh has been the man behind several Russian singers who grew to be big stars in the industry. He was the in-house producer of the talent show Fabrika Zvyozd, Russia’s version of Operacion Triunfo.

ZENA met Drobysh through the show after it was revived in 2017. She finished fourth.

In the past, he has worked with Eurovision alum Dmitry Koldun, who won the sixth series of Fabrika Zvyozd. Koldun parted ways with Drobysh’ production company over artistic differences.

Through the years, Drobysh has gone to Eurovision twice before 2019. He wrote the music for Buranovskiye Babushki’s iconic entry “Party for Everybody” in 2012. He was also the main man behind IVAN’s “Help You Fly” in 2016, which missed the final.

Drobysh previously garnered worldwide media attention as one of the main producers behind the planned Intervision Song Contest revival. It was viewed as Russia’s “heterosexual alternative” to Eurovision in response to Conchita Wurst’s 2014 victory. A couple of Russian political figures had taken the drag queen’s win as a sign of the “moral decay of the West”. The contest never took place and is suspended indefinitely.

As an all-embracing platform, we condemn such words heavily. But we also want to call for continued support for ZENA, who does not have any connection to these remarks and who has no choice at this point but to perform an entry written by Viktor Drobysh. Drobysh’ views do not represent the views of other members of the Belarusian delegation at Eurovision 2019 on the matter.

Read all our Belarus news here

Co-written by Renske ten Veen

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Thor
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Thor

Now i have a question my mind. If lgbt is forbidden in Russia then what about when i watch Loboda’s Superstar video clip?? There are two girls kissing there? What happened about it?

Tusán
Guest

Loboda is from Ukraine.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I hope they get a nice BOO from the fans. This ugly horseface made a direct threat against the eurovision fans and the LGBTQ persons following Eurovision and taking part as contestants. They need to keep him out of the show.

T.J.
Guest
T.J.

Belarus deeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaad last in my ranking

Lolz
Guest
Lolz

Zena gave a like to Viktor’s post. Well…

Bear
Guest
Bear

Is that real? On which social media platform was it?

Tusán
Guest

Receipts?!

La Signora
Guest
La Signora

Never thought to read something about Brunei on this website

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I really hope ZENA won’t get booed in May like the Tolnachevy Sisters, but I wouldn’t be surprised. She doesn’t deserve to be stuck with this Guy.

Kungfrederik
Guest
Kungfrederik

What’s the problem. Belarus will stay in the semi. Corrupted choice. Zero presence on stage. Bland song. Not surprised at all they are eastern. #westthebest.

Hanan Buhadana
Guest
Hanan Buhadana

She did like it tho. pun intended.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Is someone surprised though? It’s a very homophobic country .
Zena shouldn’t be blamed though. She has nothing to do with it. If your employeer does or say some stupid should you be blamed too? Does that mean youre like your employer?

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

But we’d all be voting for him (as the songwriter) as well as her

NickC
Guest
NickC

Are they gonna like it? Are they gonna like it? No.
You should stick to your domestic market bro, civilization is too much to handle for you.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Man, do I miss Naviband.

INAMOO
Guest
INAMOO

What a stupid, unprofessional man.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

An apology for homophobic remarks shouldn’t refer to anyone as “f*gs”, that’s not an apology, the LGBT+ community deserves better.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

that’s like, a Trump-level “apology”

T.J.
Guest
T.J.

I’m so tired of these so called “apologies” that in fact just have one purpose: to pretend that the aggressor is the victim.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Completely unnecessary self-sabotage, considering the songwriter had entered a contest that actively celebrates diversity. Didn’t he have to sign those behaviour forms? (That’s an actual question, despite the implied comedic tone.) It was also irresponsible to the singer, who is not even an adult.

Apple
Guest
Apple

…I can’t even. /That/ was an apology?

Teddie
Guest
Teddie

There’s a saying we have here in Russia: Viktor Drobysh — hui sosi, uebysh (means “suck a d*ck, you prick” but also rhymes with his last name). Wasn’t sure where it came from, but perhaps now I understand. Thanks to such people we are easily portrayed in press as medieval barbarians.

Charo
Guest
Charo

I’d propose a boycott but; a) It’s not Zena’s fault, and b) No one is voting for that song anyways.

Nicolascaceres
Guest
Nicolascaceres

Zena I have a very uncomfortable question for you… Belarus is homophobic?

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

not funny, she has nothing to do with this

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

well he’s saying what 80% of russians think, total trash ik but let’s not start blaming zena bc she’s not involved with these disgusting comments

horsewoman
Guest
horsewoman

Damn, but Belarus was a shoe-in to win Eurovision before this

Evend
Guest
Evend

still wonder why Lazarev and Bilan didn’t come out? I know it’s Belarus not Russia, but anti-gay propaganda has the strong impact on both of the countries

xmynameis
Guest
xmynameis

I think he did this so he could save his own face and blame the “gay lobby” and politics for Zena’s imminent failure.

Pok
Guest
Pok

I hope the song flop hard in May though I kind of like it. I dare wiwibloggs to ask her about this during pre parties.

uwu vision
Guest
uwu vision

Come on bro, thats a bit low. I mean the kid is 16 and she has generally nothing to do with this dudes views. Wishing failure on an innocent person because their songwriter is a douche really ain’t it, chief.

Rasmus
Guest
Rasmus

agree

Pok
Guest
Pok

So funny. 16 years old is already old enough to face the reality. When you know your friend is a homophobic but you still work with him and don’t even say a word, it means you’re a complice.

T.J.
Guest
T.J.

Age does not matter here. I was beaten up as a gay kid back then by 15 and 16 year old “kids”. So spare me this “oh she’s only 16”-please!
16 year old people have an opinion, so they can speak out. If she doesn’t, she agrees with him. Shame on her too.

Bella
Guest
Bella

So he’s a nobody who produced an awful song, has hateful, medieval opinions and feels the need to share them… Nothing worth of interest, next.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

To comment on someone sating Zena should speak up or she is just as guilty. She is 16, she is in Belarus, labled the last dictatorship in Europe. She aint gonna speak out cause culturally and politically it will affect her career in her country. I understand the silence.

Nicolas
Guest
Nicolas

And therefore employees are not responsible for the behavior and statements of their boss.

Leah
Guest
Leah

Well, Sergey at least critizised the law against “propaganda of homosexuality” when it was adopted, and has stated his support for LGBT several times. And he probably has the bigger career to loose. Nonetheless, I understand why ZENA doesn’t speak up (regardless of her opinion on the matter), I just wanted to make this clear about Sergey.

poe-tay-toe chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe chips

What a complete jerk…jeez…

I feel sorry for Zena. He has the face and look of a man who might “like her” too much…

David J
Guest
David J

Oh I’ll only be supporting ZENA if she condemns his disgusting remarks. Silence won’t suffice!. I really hope she does speak up against this for her own sake. If she’s not brave enough to or doesn’t care enough to….then F**k her!

aroncido
Guest
aroncido

“she’s not brave enough (…) then F**k her!”
That’s probably easy for you to say from a Western country where freedom of expression is a thing. Not so sure about Belarus.

David J
Guest
David J

Fair point

uwu vision
Guest
uwu vision

She is a 16 year old kid representing an eastern european country, for crying out loud! She shouldn’t have anything to do with this at. all. There are many more homophobes in Belarus than people like you on the internet who are considering disliking her for not saying anything. The employee should not have to be associated with the boss’s prickish political opinions.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Who is Viktor Drobysh?
a zero to the left

Patti LaHelle
Guest
Patti LaHelle

I know it’s hard but you’ve got to give love to people like that, hate is a double edged sword and their wounds run deep.

Charles
Guest
Charles

Long live your vocal damage Haretha … upload your diploma, better yet … upload your billboard stats …

yolande duminuco
Guest

Until the other delegates and the singer publicly dissociate themselves, it means that they think like him. In these dark times, we must take distances, clear from these positions.

I would add that other singers who will participate in the contest must also speak clearly. is no longer time to turn a blind eye.

Nikita
Guest
Nikita

As Russian i can say that Drobysh is a big homophobic POS and always been, his apology is bs, he is very succseful and rich Russian music producer and a big fan of Putin….ugh!

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

How can he be a rich songwriter? Like… His biggest hit was party for everybody

Katy
Guest
Katy

Nah, he’s done stuff for Russian singers. Some of it was quite successful. So he’s made his coins not just off Babushki.

Bear
Guest
Bear

I feel bad for Zena, she’s being put in an uncomfortable situation over which she doesn’t have control. And she’s quite young (16?) so it might feel overwhelming. And I don’t understand why that Drobysh figure would even associate himself with Eurovision, when he is so anti-gay… -.-

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

very uncomfortable questions everywhere…

Una
Guest
Una

I totally agree with your opinion on Zena, Bear. She shouldn’t take the grunt for the actions of another person. And why a young *woman* should be carrying the burden of reacting to what a man has done. Not only that it could be detrimental for her career. How about the national broadcaster, journalists, the public and so on. Why *always the woman*? And one that is only 16 years old. It’s not like that *she* had made those statements.

Oggy
Guest
Oggy

As Malay people & I’m hard fans of Eurovision. I’m so interesting the issue between Eurovision as European & Brunei Darussalam is Malay countries in Asia Pacific. I see

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

The man is an absolute moron, minimally talented, and totally unfunny. Sad!

Nicolas
Guest
Nicolas

Poor Zena, she really didn’t need this after all the hatred she already suffered on Internet about the Belarus NF.

willchrisiam
Guest
willchrisiam

I really don’t like her song but I hope she doesn’t get booed this year like the Russian twins did in 2014.