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Israeli TV delays gay terrorist comedy after Eurovision boycott threats

Nick Duffy March 28, 2019
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Fictional French Eurovision contestant TJ in Israeli comedy series Douze Points

Fictional French Eurovision contestant TJ in Israeli comedy series Douze Points

Israel’s state broadcaster has agreed to delay a TV show that depicts a gay French Eurovision contestant being recruited by ISIS.

Public broadcaster KAN, which is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May, has faced anger over tie-in satirical comedy series Douze Points, which was set to air one week before the contest.

The three-episode satirical comedy depicts fictional French gay Muslim ‘TJ’ being blackmailed into carrying out a terror attack, after he is chosen to represent France at the song contest in Tel Aviv.

Israel delays Eurovision satire Douze Points after French boycott threats

France had reportedly threatened to boycott the song contest over the series, citing the main character’s similarity to real-life Eurovision contestant Bilal Hassani, who is also a young French gay Muslim.

KAN has now confirmed that Douze Points has been shelved until after the song contest following an intervention from the European Broadcasting Union, which oversees Eurovision.

L - Fictional character TJ in Israeli comedy Douze Points. R - France's real-life Eurovision contestant Bilal Hassani
L – Fictional character TJ in Israeli comedy Douze Points. R – France’s real-life Eurovision contestant Bilal Hassani. (Getty)

According to AFP, EBU officials had warned KAN that airing the comedy would breach the hosting agreement for Eurovision and would have “significant security, political and legal ramifications.”

Officials also noted that airing the series would unfairly turn a spotlight on the French delegation.

In a statement, KAN confirmed a decision had been taken “to approve the broadcast only after Eurovision.”

It said: “Members of the committee believe that the public interest necessitates the public broadcaster to refrain from endangering holding the competition in Israel for any reason.

“The series will be part of the broadcast schedule after the competition’s final.”

Douze Points creators ‘disappointed’ by decision to delay show

Speaking to Haaretz, show creator Asaf Zelikovitch criticised the decision to shelve the show.

He said: “We’re surprised and disappointed at the decision to postpone the airing of the series, mainly in light of the fact that it doesn’t insult the French or Eurovision..

“The series is in favour of Eurovision and in favour of the values it promotes. It’s not a series that’s trying to portray Eurovision, or the French, as pathetic.

“It actually comes to show that the contest promotes values of acceptance and progress as compared to values of conservatism and homophobia that typify ISIS.”

Zelikovitch added:  “We believe that the French thought we wrote the series after they chose Bilal Hassani. But we wrote it long before that.

“It really is a story that turned out very similar to what actually happened.”

Co-creator Yoav Havel said he would invite France’s Eurovision contestant Bilal Hassani to a screening of the show, adding: “The absurd thing is that since being chosen, Hassani has been the victim of a series of threats and slanders precisely due to the things that we write about in the series.

“We oppose hatred and homophobia.”

Related topics: Bilal Hassani, eurovision, eurovision song contest, France, French, Gay, Israel, LGBT

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