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.
Comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, viewed as a dangerous anti-Semite by the French government, has appealed against a ban on his show, Le Mur (The Wall).
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala lodged the appeal with France’s highest court, the Council of State, after it overruled a provincial judge on Thursday and reinstated the ban.
The ban took effect as fans gathered for the first show of a tour, in the western city of Nantes on Thursday.
Authorities in other cities on the tour have also banned the performance.
Legal analysts say that while the Council of State decision applied specifically to Nantes, judges in other cities will have to take it into account and a flurry of further bans is likely.
Among the performances of The Wall which have been banned is one that was scheduled for the city of Tours on Friday.
Supporters of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala and critics of the bans accuse the authorities of denying the comic freedom of speech.
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala has appealed against a ban on his show
However, government lawyers argue that the fundamentally racist nature of his act means it cannot be afforded protection under France’s constitutional provisions on freedom of speech.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls wants Dieudonne M’bala M’bala kept off all stages in France, condemning the comic’s “mechanics of hate”.
PM Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was satisfied with the Council of State ban.
“What’s at stake is the struggle against the drift towards anti-Semitism in which Dieudonne was engaged,” he said on Friday.
“Over the course of time, each show leads to a spiraling out of control. And we can’t accept that in our society there is the slightest complacency with regards to anti-Semitism. It’s totally alien to our values and principles.”
Shocked fans booed outside the concert hall in Nantes, where more than 5,000 people had been due to see the show.
Some gave Dieudonne M’bala M’bala’s trademark “quenelle” gesture, which is regarded by many as an inverted Nazi salute, while some brandished pineapples.
One of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala’s most notorious songs, Shoananas, roughly translates as Pineapple-Holocaust and mocks commemoration of the Nazi extermination of the Jews.
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