Hatari was — from the very beginning of their Eurovision journey — outspoken about their support for the people of Palestine. They repeatedly expressed their hope that someday there would be peace and unity between Israelis and Palestinians, and that the Israeli government would end their settlement there.
The band have also made it clear that ever since they won Söngvakeppni in February they have been kept on very short leash, and pretty much ordered by the EBU to keep quiet and not rock the boat. And they obeyed…more or less…until Iceland received its televote points during the Grand Final of Eurovision last Saturday. At that moment, with cameras pointed at them, they waved Palestinian banners and were both booed and praised by the audience and viewers, depending on their views.
Hatari has been a tight-knit group and unanimous in their stance and political views. Their performance went beyond the stage, and group members stayed in character pretty much all the time. But according to Kolbeinn Tumi Daðason, reporter for the Icelandic web-media visir.is, who had been in Tel Aviv during Eurovision week, female dancer Sólbjört Sigurðardóttir, who is also Einar’s fiancé, was very upset and angry about the whole thing.
The group’s female members have subsequently spoken to reporters and said that they did know about the banner incident, but they were not aware of how far they would get.
Needless to say, security guards and staff members of the Tel Aviv Expo were less than pleased about Hatari’s silent outburst, and immediately rushed to the green room to confiscate the banners.
This is shown in an IG-video, posted by drummer Einar Stefánsson. In the back, either Sólbjört or Ástrós are heard saying: “I am very scared right now, I want to go back to the hotel at once.” Even if you are aware of something, it can cause you distress.
The EBU will take action
And if the staff members of the EXPO were displeased, just imagine the anger coming out of EBU HQ. In an interview with ruv.is, Felix Bergsson confirmed that he had been called to a meeting with the EBU, and that Hatari’s actions will indeed have consequences. But he says that he does not know how exactly what those will be. “I honestly just don’t know at this point,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see. We pretty much all knew beforehand that Hatari had strong opinions and wanted to state those opinions one way or the other. I sincerely hope that this will all blow over soon”.
For security reasons and for the safety of the group, Felix advised them to hand over the banners and tried to get the group back to the dressing rooms as soon as possible. That, however, took longer than expected because a lot of the routes to and from the Green Room were closed. At the end, he says he had to take the group through the audience, which he says was less trouble than he’d expected. “There was some shouting, but luckily no one came directly at them,” Felix said. He admits that he was somewhat relieved that this was all over and that he didn’t have to constantly be on his toes, waiting to see what Hatari would do.
In an interview with visir.is, the only thing lead member Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson had to say about the incident was: “This all went according to plan, and all I’m saying is CHEERS and much love from Iceland.”
Hatari did indeed leave their mark on Eurovision 2019, and will definitely be remembered for all eternity for their participation, both in a good way and in a bad way. Whatever the consequences for them and RÚV is yet to be seen. Will it be a slap on the wrist in the best case scenario or will Iceland face a one year disqualification in the worst case scenario? This will all be revealed in days to come.
What do you think about Hatari’s banner incident? Should the EBU disqualify Iceland from next year’s Eurovision or just simply give a good old fashioned scolding and move on? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.