A song on a singing competition to find a Eurovision contestant has been criticised for lyrics mocking a gay character.

The song, featured on Israel’s Keshet production company’s show ‘The Next Star of Eurovision’.

Sung by Maor Gamliel, it was called ‘Leaving the Closet’. The show’s bosses say it was intended as a “joke”, but gay rights activists have not seen the funny side.

Gamliel’s song contained the lyrics: “Moshiko [a diminutive Hebrew form of the name Moshe], is interested in boys, Moshiko, craves butts, Moshiko, always in the showers, ignoring the girls, dropping his underwear, dropping the soap, should be in the theater, come on already, leave the closet, Moshiko.”

It was the subject of 200 complaints after airing, but the out gay host of the show, Asi Azar said critics should see the song as a joke.

The National LGBT Task Force has called for supporters to issue more complaints to Keshet over the song.

Keshet is now being investigated by the Second Authority for Television and Radio on whether it has violated its tender obligations.

Officials said the song possibly contains “statements that reinforce stigmas and prejudices, and at the same time place parents of children watching the show in an uncomfortable situation.”

“At first glance, I believe the song is hurtful, insulting and shaming,” David Regev, the public complaints ombudsman of the Second Authority, told Haaretz.

“In the balance between free expression, which allows for such a song, and the harm caused to the audience of viewers, I believe the harm was much greater, and this should have been taken into account before the broadcast.”

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