Germany has decided to withdraw its act for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest following criticism Xavier Naidoo’s lyrics are anti-Semitic and homophobic.
Xavier Naidoo, of Indian and African heritage, has sold millions of albums in Germany, but songs such as 2012’s Wo Sind (Where Are) have been widely criticized.
Anti-racism groups’ complained after Xavier Naidoo’s selection, on November 19, for the Stockholm contest.
Germany’s public broadcaster ARD denied the “brilliant” singer was racist.
Executive Thomas Schreiber added: “It was clear that his nomination would polarize opinions, but we were surprised about the negative response.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a fun event, in which music and the understanding between European people should be the focus.
“This characteristic must be kept at all costs. The ongoing discussion about Naidoo could harm the image of the Eurovision Song Contest.
“This is why Naidoo will not represent Germany. We will quickly decide now, how the German entry for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest will be found.”
In 2014, when Germany marked the 25th anniversary of reunification, Xavier Naidoo was criticized for appearing at a rally of the controversial Reichsbuerger group, which wants the re-establishment of Germany as a two-border state.
On November 20, Germany’s most popular newspaper, Bild, questioned Xavier Naidoo’s selection, on its front page.
Anti-racism group the Amadeu Antonio Foundation also described the choice as “problematic”.
In response, Xavier Naidoo, 44, said on Facebook, in his native language, that it was “OK for me” and that ARD had urged him to compete in the first place.
The singer also said he represented a Germany that was “open to the world” and tolerant of different religions and lifestyles.
The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest was won by Swedish singer Mans Zelmerlow with his upbeat pop track Heroes, which was accompanied by innovative animated visuals.
Germany, which came last in the 2015 competition, with zero points, would name a new contender as soon as possible, Thomas Schreiber said.