Bambie Thug lashes out at Eurovision organisers the EBU for ‘scapegoating’ Ireland

Irish contestant condemns organisers behind the annual song contest for allegedly failing to properly address an ‘urgent’ matter involving Israel’s broadcaster KAN

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 13 May 2024 10:09 BST
Bambie Thug cries as they accuse Eurovision bosses of ‘not supporting them’ in Israel row

Bambie Thug, one of the breakout stars of the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest, has condemned organisers the European Broadcasting Union and accused them of using Ireland as “scapegoats” in the controversy surrounding Israel’s participation.

The 31-year-old singer finished sixth in this year’s competition – which was held in Malmo, Sweden – after becoming the first Irish contestant to qualify for the final since 2018.

The annual event, typically a jubilant and colourful celebration of music, was overshadowed this year by rows over Israel’s delegate, Eden Golan, with protests held outside the arena throughout Eurovision week.

Further controversy erupted following the disqualification of Netherlands act Joost Klein hours before he was due to perform, allegedly after an incident involving a TV crew member.

Bambie, who uses they/them pronouns, was vocal about their pro-Palestine stance during the competition. Their performance in the final was thrown into doubt after they failed to attend the last dress rehearsal, as they announced that a situation required “urgent attention” from the EBU.

Ultimately going on to perform their song “Doomsday Blues” in the final, Bambie spoke with journalists at a press conference after Switzerland’s contestant Nemo was crowned the winner, thanks to their performance of operatic pop song “The Code”.

“So now that I’m free, I can talk about everything right?” they said, as they accused Israeli broadcaster KAN of breaking rules.

Bambie Thug accuses Eurovision bosses of ‘not supporting them’ in Israeli row.
Bambie Thug accuses Eurovision bosses of ‘not supporting them’ in Israeli row. (PA)

“KAN, the broadcaster, incited violence against me twice, three times,” Bambie claimed. “We brought it up to the EBU. They said they’d follow up.

“They waited to the last minute, we still haven’t got a statement back to us, allowed us to be scapegoats, allowed us to be the spokesperson for standing up for ourselves.”

They continued: “And yeah, the broadcaster has disobeyed the rules and I hope next year they won’t be able to compete because of that.

“And behind the scenes you don’t know the amount of pressure and the amount of work that we have been doing to change things, and I’m so proud of Nemo for winning... because it’s been so hard and I’m so proud of us.”

Ireland’s Eurovision contestant Bambie Thug called out the EBU
Ireland’s Eurovision contestant Bambie Thug called out the EBU (Getty Images)

Bambie concluded by saying they believed that “we are what Eurovision is, the EBU is not what Eurovision is. F*** the EBU, I don’t even care anymore. F*** them.”

The Independent has contacted the EBU and KAN for comment.

Following their performance, the singer received a congratulatory message from Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris, who praised them for a “stunning performance and [being a] tour de force at Eurovision 2024”.

“They performed with passion, stopped us in our tracks and did us proud,” he said. “The eruption of applause in the stadium at the end of Ireland’s performance spoke for itself.”

The EBU was also criticised by the Dutch delegation after its contestant Joost was disqualified, with the country’s broadcaster AVROTROS calling the penalty “very heavy and disproportionate”.

The Netherlands’ contestant Joost was disqualified from the Eurovision 2024 final
The Netherlands’ contestant Joost was disqualified from the Eurovision 2024 final (TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Ima)

“We stand for good manners – let there be no misunderstanding about that – but in our view, an exclusion order is not proportional to this incident,” a spokesperson said.

Explaining its decision, the EBU said: “We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our event and are committed to providing a safe and secure working environment for all staff at the contest.

“In light of this, Joost Klein’s behaviour towards a team member is deemed in breach of contest rules.”

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