Croatia’s Eurovision contestant faces accusations of homophobia
Croatia’s Eurovision entry, Jaques Houdek, has faced accusations of homophobia.
The singer, who has made it through to the final with his song My Friend, has made a number of homophobic statements in the past.
In 2011, he was nominated for Homophobe of the Decade by the country’s capital LGBT event, Zagreb Pride.
Houdek was described as “without doubt the biggest homophobe in Croatian showbiz”.
The best-selling musician called same-sex unions “sick”.
He also said that the “gay and lesbian population cannot be equal with other citizens because it means a return to Sodom and Gomorrah” in a 2005 interview with the magazine Tena.
The statements led to him being listed in a report by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Intersex Association (ILGA) under the category “public figures who gave homophobic statements”.
The 35-year-old has also been named Homophobe of the Year by a leading gay website in the country, Gay.hr, in 2006.
Following the 2011 nomination for Homophobe of the Decade, Houdek took to Facebook to deny the accusations – insisting that they were raised “to discredit me”.
“It is not true that I am homophobe, which can be confirmed by my friends, colleagues and acquaintances from business circles who are gay,” the singer said.
Houdek went on to explain that “hatred does not correspond to my personality”, and therefore to “call me a hater or the greatest homophobe on Croatian show business is incorrect, because no evidence exists for such accusations”.
The final of the contest will take place tonight (Saturday May 13) in Kyiv, and you can view it on BBC One with a commentary by Graham Norton.