Hovi Star responds to rumors of homophobic attack in Moscow
Alvaro Sanabria | On 25, Apr 2016
Hovi Star, the 2016 Israeli representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, was allegedly the victim of a homophobic attack in Moscow airport, when he was visiting in connection with the Russian Eurovision party.
Laughing in Moscow airport
The Spanish representative Barei was the first person to report this incident. In an interview to La Vanguardia, she describes seeing the airport officers in Moscow laughing at Hovi Star because of his make up. According to Barei, when Hovi was in the passport control, the officers broke Hovi’s passport. The other contestants who sung in Moscow did not receive any mistreatment. It was only Hovi because they “noticed (that he was gay)”.
She added that she was surprised, because she always thought that the press exaggerated the news about LGBT rights in Russia and though she does not have anything against Sergei Lazarev, the Russian representative, she says she would not vote for Russia if she was gay.
Hovi Star reaction
During an interview in Malta, the Israeli contestant confirmed the rumors about him being the victim of a homophobic attack in Moscow. When asked about the incident Hovi commented:
‘Maybe people in Moscow have a rough time with people like me, maybe because I’m gay, maybe because I dress like this, maybe because I wear make-up, I don’t know. But when I wanted to get into Moscow, I had problems with passport control. They told me I can’t go in, they looked at my passport, they ripped my passport’.
According to Hovi Star, he had to go to the Israeli consulate to get a new passport in order to continue his Eurovision promotion tour.
Nevertheless, Hovi Star remarked that he has nothing against Sergei Lazarev nor against Russia. “This wasn’t a nice experience, we live, we learn, we continue, we smile and we give free love to everyone,” he concluded.
This is not the first time that the public is concerned about the lack of protection of LGBT rights in Russia during Eurovision. For instance, after Conchita Wurst won in 2014, it was suggested by a Russian MP that the country may withdraw from the competition.
Polina Gagarina was also criticized by the infamous Russian politician Vitaly Milonov (supporter of the anti gay propaganda law). Milonov called Gagarina a traitor after the Russian representative in Vienna uploaded a video on instagram, where she talked with Conchita and they kissed.
Photo: Ronen Akerman