Gay French Eurovision hopeful Bilal Hassani ‘faces wave of hatred’
Singer Bilal Hassani, a frontrunner in representing France at the Eurovision song contest, has been subject of homophobic harassment on social media, French LGBT+ rights groups denounced.
Two organisations fighting homophobia in France, SOS Homophobie and Urgence Homophobie, said they were working together with LGBT-friendly lawyers to report every single person who has used anti-LGBT language against the French-Moroccan performer.
“Following the shocking wave of hatred facing Bilal Hassani, SOS Homophobie and Urgence Homophobie are teaming up to target every person who has insulted, discriminated or threatened Bilal Hassani on social networks,” the joint statement, published on Twitter on Thursday (January 24), read.
“The words that can be read against him are unworthy, unacceptable and will not go unpunished,” the groups said, claiming that they had already identified “more than 1500 tweets insulting, discriminating or threatening [Hassani] because of its orientation and/or appearance.”
The joint statement continued: “All these tweets will be subject to complaints. all without exception. We’re not going to let anything go. Bilal Hassani is an example to many young people: he is owed respect. Shame must change sides.
“Lesbophobia, transphobia, biphobia, but also racism, homophobia and Queerphobia are not an opinion, but a crime.”
In a separate tweet, SOS Homophobie said they have filed 213 complaints of hate speech against Hassani, publishing several screenshots of tweets insulting the singer.
Who is Bilal Hassani?
Hassani, a YouTuber with nearly 800,000 followers, is one of eight acts competing to become France’s entry to the Eurovision song contest, due to take place in Tel Aviv, Israel, in May.
The gay singer is seen as one of the favourites to win the competition Destination Eurovision on Saturday (January 26), which will land him a spot in the final of the song contest—France is one of the six countries that automatically qualifies to that stage of Eurovision.
The 19-year-old stood out from the competition with his song, “Roi,” which mixes French and English lyrics in an anthem about self-acceptance.
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The song’s YouTube video has received more than 5 million views.
Dozens of people have expressed support for the singer on social media, wishing him success in the competition.
“Bilal Hassani better win tonight or i’ll riot
#DestinationEurovision” one fan wrote.
Another supporter is convinced the singer will triumph not only at Destination Eurovision on Saturday, but at the song festival in May, too.
“Can’t wait for Bilal Hassani to win eurovision and shove my family’s trash talk down their throat, because that’s what magnificience [sic] looks like,” the Twitter user wrote.