• Israeli Eurovision entrant Hovi Star speaks on Maltese TV show Xarabank about his experience of homophobia (Source: Xarabank via Wiwibloggs) (Xarabank)Source: Xarabank
Hovi Star, the official Eurovision artist for Israel in 2016 says that immigration officers at Moscow airport laughed at him and tore up his passport.
Genevieve Dwyer

25 Apr 2016 - 4:11 PM  UPDATED 25 Apr 2016 - 4:46 PM

Star, who is openly gay, told Maltese TV show Xarabank about the incident, which took place two weeks earlier saying, “They told me I couldn’t go in, they looked at my passport, they ripped my passport, and then they laughed at me.”


Star was in the country as part of a promotional tour for Eurovision, where he was due to appear in another local song contest in Russia.


Star says of the incident, “In Moscow, people 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.”


Star was later issued a new passport by the Israeli embassy in Moscow, and says he only chose to speak about it after his fellow Spanish Eurovision entrant Barei also witnessed the incident and spoke about it on Spanish television.


Reflecting on the incident, Star said: “It is amazing that such a thing happens in this space of the Eurovision, which is open and accepting.”


“My song speaks of equality and how we’re all born equal, and it’s a shame that such a thing has happened.”


Watch Star's official song entry below:



Star continued: “Let’s take this as a lesson. I don’t take it personally, I really like [Russian Eurovision entrant] Sergey Lazarov, I like his song, and I like Russia, I’ve been there many times. This wasn’t a nice experience, we live, we learn, we continue, we smile and we give free love to everyone.”


Watch Star'ss full interview below. 


The Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on SBS’s Eurovision Weekend - Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Grand Final Sunday 15 May, 7.30pm on SBS, with LIVE early morning broadcasts from 5am on Wednesday 11, Friday 13 and Sunday 15 May.

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