Mustasch Contagious Melodifestivalen

Saturday’s third Melodifestivalen semi-final is almost upon us. But in the days running up to the show, much of the focus in Sweden has been on the participation of Mustasch — and for all the wrong reasons.

Ralf Gyllenhammar’s sexual harassment conviction

In 2018, the band’s frontman Ralf Gyllenhammar was convicted for a sexual harassment incident which occurred in the summer of 2017. The “Bed On Fire” singer is said to have made multiple comments on a woman’s appearance while filming a commercial. At one point, he pushed a beer bottle between her breasts. Gyllenhammar claimed not to recall the incident but said it sounded like “something he could do in a playful way”. The District Court rejected his statement, sentencing him to SEK 10,000 in daily fines. In May 2019, Mustasch printed t-shirts with the band’s logo emblazoned over a beer bottle pressed between a woman’s breasts.

Victim appeals for SVT to remove Mustasch from Melfest

The now 28-year-old victim “Isabell” has appealed for SVT to remove Mustasch from Melodifestivalen. She emailed the broadcaster when the group was first announced for the contest. In an email, seen by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Isabell writes: “The pressure was a sexist, abusive and sexually alluding one, and at my expense. I can not go into more than that… [Ralf] does not have to be on stage in the middle of prime time among young women in the television team who may not dare to speak out against him…I want to spare them from it”. Aftonbladet reports that another 40 people had reached out to SVT regarding Mustasch’s participation by Thursday.

SVT response to calls for Mustasch to be removed from Melodifestivalen

In response to Isabell’s initial email, SVT wrote: “I fully understand that you are upset. This is a topic that touches and engages. What Melodifestivalen and its editorial staff have landed in is that once you have served your sentence, you are welcome to compete in Melodifestivalen”.

When questioned on the matter by Aftonbladet, Mello producer Karin Gunnarsson replied: “I can not answer for how [Isabell] feels, but to be exposed to crime, regardless of character must be very difficult. Ralf has apologized and the verdict has fallen, so … they are in the Melodifestivalen the whole group, it’s not just Ralf as a person”. She adds that the t-shirts were inappropriate and that SVT has zero-tolerance for sexual harassment and abusive behaviour.

Mustasch issue an apology

On Wednesday, the band took part in a particularly uncomfortable interview with Aftonbladet. Gyllenhammar describes the sexual harassment and the t-shirts as “a wrong decision”, saying he should have known better. On Isabell’s effort to warn other women in the Melfest team, he says: “It sounds very strange, I think. We’re not a bit dangerous”. The band’s guitarist Mats “Stam” Johansson says that the t-shirts were “a stupid thing, it was not meant as a mockery at all, of course not”. Journalist Tobbe Ek continued with his line of questioning, not giving up when the band wanted to move on. Eventually, the interview came to a halt when a record company representative triggered SVT’s social distancing alarm. You can watch the interview here.

As the controversy continued to build, Mustasch released a video statement of their own on Facebook.

“Due to what has been written about me and the band Mustasch in the last 24 hours, we want to make a clarification. I have been convicted of an incident that occurred in 2017. I have paid a daily fine and then I also apologized to the person in question and now I take the opportunity to do it again. Sorry, sorry, it was not meant to offend or harass. Furthermore, the whole band Mustasch takes responsibility for this completely disgusting idiotic shirt that we had printed. It was in our range for a short time but has been removed for a very long time and we regret bitterly and deeply that we even printed this damn t-shirt. In summary, we have learned a lot from this and we continue to learn and from now on the band Mustasch focuses on hard rock, joy, party, what we are absolutely best at. Thank you and sorry.

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ESCFanGA
ESCFanGA
7 months ago

Fortunately they have absolutely no chance of winning Melfest. Imagine the massive outrage if they actually competed at Eurovision. They would probably fail to get out of the semi final. They’d flop in the televote and every single female juror would rank them dead last.

Last edited 7 months ago by ESCFanGA
poe-tay-toe-chips
poe-tay-toe-chips
7 months ago

Not to pick on appearances but with creepy facial hair like that….kind of exactly the type of person I’d expect to have those sorts of allegations honestly

Last edited 7 months ago by poe-tay-toe-chips
poe-tay-toe-chips
poe-tay-toe-chips
7 months ago

Oh and also I’m not sure if things are different in Sweden, but in the US (where I live), that thing on the necklace he’s wearing in the photo is widely considered to be a white supremacist symbol.

Yanis
Yanis
7 months ago

SVT didn’t seem to have problem on dropping Thorsten Flinck last year for unlawful threat and vandalism, but sexual harassment is something to go by?

Sim
Sim
7 months ago
Reply to  Yanis

As far as I remember Thorsten Flinck had not been to court at the time of his disqualification. The lead singer of Mustasch has served his sentence. I’m pretty sure that’s the difference. It has nothing to do with the type of crime.

Raussen
Raussen
7 months ago

You need to go to jail, you are really sick

xyz
xyz
7 months ago

I need them to win now.

Hu Whie
Hu Whie
7 months ago

This is just sick, if Mustasch goes to the final or even Andra Chasen, Sweden will lose my respect totally. Poor Isabell, sexual harassment is something that have even caused people to have mental illnesses. Awful, terrible to keep them in the race SVT!

Raussen
Raussen
7 months ago
Reply to  Hu Whie

Sweden won’t live without your respect

Yanis
Yanis
7 months ago
Reply to  Raussen

Raussen this is a horrible comment considering the subject we’re talking about, you have no idea what she has gone through. Maybe even experienced same behaviour from men.

Last edited 7 months ago by Yanis
Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago

I hope that at least maybe some good can come from this – there might be some idiot out there who realizes, oh, I’d better not do that.

Una
Una
7 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

How could that happen? Realize that that is not the thing to do? I would think the opposite. This case shows that you can do what you want, little to no consequences.

I wish people understood that for every girl/woman hurt that way there are parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, husbands, wives that hurt too. The whole society is let down when *violence* is committed against girls/women.

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Una

I’m just hoping. I didn’t mean the case itself, I just meant the Melodifestivalen appearance – if the attention encourages some conversations, like this one, or at dinner tables…maybe that could help.

Héctor
Héctor
7 months ago

I think I’m with SVT and its response this time.

You may want to warn other women about your experience but why asking for the whole group to be remove? Nano shouldn’t have competed then because he was in jail. Ralf pais for it.

Note that I’m against that primitive behaviour even if it is carried as a fun game. About the T-shirt, yeah it’s not fun to joke about that. I wouldn’t trust someone who wears that kind of T-shirt.

Last edited 7 months ago by Héctor
Pasadena
Pasadena
7 months ago

We’ve seen this dilemma before. Should Michael Jackson’s songs be played on radio? Should Peter Handke have received the Nobel prize? Can you judge an artist’s work independently of the artist’s viewpoints or behavior, even if these behaviors are immoral or even criminal? Should you give an artist with a criminal past a platform to showcase their art? Not easy to answer.

Max
Max
7 months ago

I can’t even… the question is not whether somebody served their sentence, but rather if the teams of Melodifestivalen and public broadcaster SVT want to promote people who are related to sexual harrasment and tasteless mockery of it.

Whisker
Whisker
7 months ago

I wasn’t planning on watching the show at all because of the horrific fashion, the songs are not good enough to compensate the eyesores. Now I’m saying goodbye to the whole thing. The public broadcaster had a choice. They only show they’re ok with giving such individuals a platform within this very special, culturally bound, pride of a nation, music festival. They are ok with it. The dude wasn’t rehabilitated. Apologies are empty words. Bye.

Whisker
Whisker
7 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

I was referring to semi 3 eyesores. Dotter looked great – fashion, hair, make-up. I didn’t like her fake nails but I don’t like those on anyone. Let me know what Saade will wear.

PuppetOnAString
7 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

I’m sure they will miss you

Whisker
Whisker
7 months ago

They are surely missing *something*. 

Hu Whie
Hu Whie
7 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

Very true words Whisker, much respect for you! It’s good that there are people who disagree with SVT in this, Melodifestivalen is watched even by small children so this is clearly a big no from me too.

Janet
Janet
7 months ago

Hahahaha

Una
Una
7 months ago

Further thoughts: *Victims* rarely have second chances. They live with that event and its consequences forever. That kind of *violence* is the most prevalent and hurtful and under-reported and long-lasting. “Rehabilitation* into society is one thing. Giving a platform like mel lo to someone who’s guilty of that sort of *violence* only re-enforces that it’s ok to do it. Little to no consequences “in the name of rehabilitation or a better society”. Tell that to the *victims*. Acts were taken out from the contest for much lesser things in the past.  *All victims DO NEED HEROES* to stand up for… Read more »

Max
Max
7 months ago
Reply to  Una

Think so, too. How could they even write that kind of e-mail to Isabell?

Jang
Jang
7 months ago

the world is a mess, everything is a problem

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Jang

And problems can be given solutions, like how it is with Math.

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
7 months ago

No masks? No tests? No track/trace? And now this?

Shame on Melfest for such haphazard disregard to health and safety.

PuppetOnAString
7 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

There are masks and tests but okay lol

Samo
Samo
7 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Have you been in Sweden this year? Wearing masks at Melo is pointless because no one wears them outside the arena.

Kosey
Kosey
7 months ago

I think it is important that they do take part. We have to live in a society where individuals have the chance for rehabilitation after their punishment.

Sam
Sam
7 months ago
Reply to  Kosey

I agree but after his punishment they made a t-shirt mocking the incident…

Kosey
Kosey
7 months ago
Reply to  Sam

I think the problem here might be the punishment. Perhaps the punishment for the initial offence was too lenient? Perhaps they should have been punished for the T-shirt? I think it is problematic though when they have no open punishments against them to restrict them from pursuing their natural talents. They are clearly considered talented enough to be accepted onto the programme and so if they have served punishment, I think it is appropriate to allow them to pursue their talents. Whether people vote for them is an entirely different question, but I think it is right to allow them… Read more »

James
James
7 months ago

Drugs, alcohol, and petty crime according to an article. He used his past, in a good way, as a selling point in making him be endeared to Mello viewers.

Azaad
Azaad
7 months ago

The merchandising of the T-Shirts is what is especially unforgivable. And frankly shoving a beer bottle between a woman’s breasts should be an offence that carries a prison sentence (maybe for a couple of weeks or just a month but it’s still assault even without the rapey context).

Raussen
Raussen
7 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

Omg, get a life, people became such pussies

Azaad
Azaad
7 months ago

Nano had paid his debt to society and I think SVT is pursuing the same line of argument here. However I think Nano’s sentence was seen to be fitting of whatever offence he had committed (also it was a long time before 2017) while not only is this offence more recent, but the sentence was probably too light to begin with, especially as it plays into the systemic under penalisation of sexual assault throughout international justice systems.

Biqer
Biqer
7 months ago

People are more and more crazy. He didnt make any crime, stop to behave like idi*ts. Good luck and enjoy your performance in MF, Mustasch!

Raussen
Raussen
7 months ago
Reply to  Biqer

You shut up, he is right, good thing that majority understands what black innocent humor is about

Kay
Kay
7 months ago
Reply to  Biqer

no we won’t I’m terribly sorry

Thanos
Thanos
7 months ago

It really sounds tricky but the main purpose of the judiciary system is to rehabilitate. The singer in question served his time it’s not like he avoided justice or anything like it. Whoever has done a punishable act should be accepted back into society after he serves his sentence. Now as far as the T-Shirts are concerned, this was really a senseless and idiotic move to make and perhaps perplexes things even more.

Una
Una
7 months ago

i’ve DQed countries for much less in the past so the only rational thing *for me* to do is to sadly DQ Sweden from my Eurovision experience this year. As someone who knows way too much on the subject matter, including all the long-lasting stuff that comes with it that can and does affect generations within one single family. No one has to agree with me to validate my point of view, which I already know that is right, and no amount of “mental gymnastics” can explain the unexplainable.

Kalla
Kalla
7 months ago
Reply to  Una

Completely agree, surprised Sweden are being so careless and insensitive about this. Why give someone a platform that has sexually assaulted a person, and then to laugh in their victims face by making a mockery of it. Really bad taste, and so distressing for the victim(s). I expected better from SVT. It’s not like Sweden are short of talent to fill the show!

Una
Una
7 months ago
Reply to  Kalla

Agreed.

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
7 months ago
Reply to  Una

Thanks for your honesty and point of view, Una

Last edited 7 months ago by Jimmy Smit
Una
Una
7 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy Smit

Thank you.

Raussen
Raussen
7 months ago
Reply to  Una

Who cares lol

Denis
Denis
7 months ago

Its a tricky moral question with no right or wrong answers. It all depends on your stance.
I feel if he has been charged and convicted that its over. Move on you know. Doesnt everybody deserve a second chance? Had he been under investigation now or charged then SVT would have to remove them

Tibor
Tibor
7 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Is it really that tricky, though? Yes he was charged and convicted and he apologized – but then two years later he issued that disgusting t-shirt, so there can be legitimate doubts about the sincerity of his initial apology. I’m all for second chances, but remorse has to be more than just a lipservice.

Dope
Dope
7 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Tricky? First you bully people here and then sexual harassment is okay with you, disgusting Denis.

Chris
Chris
7 months ago

To be honest…
I am totally pro-redemption after sentencing.
But they mocked the incident after they were sentenced…. like they didn’t care and they didn’t showed any compassion for the victim. They have to be removed!

Kenny03
Kenny03
7 months ago

I agree with SVT that if an artist has served their time and moved on then yes they should be allowed to compete – however it is the lack of remorse that is unforgivable, and you worry that no lesson has been learnt. If they aren’t removed from the competition, it’ll be interesting to see how the Swedish public vote

Saul Browne
7 months ago

Mustasch was definatly in the wrong but now he has paid his fine he should be able to participate and I think SVT are doing the right thing by condeming what he has done but now he has moved on and we will see how he does tomorrow. One mistake shouldn’t define a person!

JPrague
JPrague
7 months ago
Reply to  Saul Browne

Paying a fine doesn’t erase your misogynistic behaviour and mindset just like that… And even worse if they mocked the incident later… That is far from regretting having done that and being redeemed…

Last edited 7 months ago by JPrague
Una
Una
7 months ago
Reply to  Saul Browne

You’ve totally forgotten to mention the main person in this issue. *His victim*.

Euroexpert
Euroexpert
7 months ago

I am so tired of people, always searching on whom they can blame all their problems, because of some flukes

Raussen
Raussen
7 months ago
Reply to  Euroexpert

You shut up, real idiot, just whom I referred to, you are all about other opinions, put shutting up them in reality)

Ozzie
Ozzie
7 months ago

First Erik Lloshi, then Alabama Watchdog and now Mustasch. It appears controversial artists in National Finals this year is Contagious.

Erik
Erik
7 months ago

Remove them! The fact that they afterwards have mocked the vicitim is just disgusting!

Last edited 7 months ago by Erik
Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
7 months ago

Yeah, ok. They can go, and Alabama Watchdog can go right along with them.

James
James
7 months ago

I think it would be wise for the band to withdraw from the competition. Once someone is proven to have done sexual harassment, that sticks to you for a very long time, whether you like it or not.

It doesn’t help that that they even made shirts out of mockery. No amount of time or apologies would ever make up for that.

And SVT would be wise to let them go if they don’t want their family-friendly flagship show to get tainted with this issue.

At least, that’s what I think.

Euroexpert
Euroexpert
7 months ago
Reply to  James

Yeah, maybe kill themselves just because people suddenly became to soft over jokes

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Euroexpert

Joking about sexual harassment is never okay.

Una
Una
7 months ago
Reply to  James

I agree here too.

Raussen
Raussen
7 months ago
Reply to  James

It was always okey, watch million of stand ups and black comedies lol, just don’t take it seriously, that’s all

Janet
Janet
7 months ago
Reply to  Euroexpert

Jokes are okay … but jokes about sexual harassment? Big no!

Raussen
Raussen
7 months ago
Reply to  Janet

Nobody can say what kind of humor is ok lol, it means liberty, which democratic people who are crying over everything forgetting

Una
Una
7 months ago
Reply to  James

I agree.