In Brief

Hungary pulls out of ‘too gay’ Eurovision song contest

Move comes amid upsurge in homophobic rhetoric among right-wing MPs

Hungary has withdrawn from the Eurovision Song Contest with claims that the move was taken because the competition is considered “too gay” for the nation’s government.

Although no reason has been given for the decision, The Guardian says the pull-out comes “amid an increase in homophobic rhetoric in Hungary”, with the prime minister, Viktor Orban, launching a “family first” policy.

A source at Hungarian broadcaster MTVA said that employees believe that Eurovision’s association with LGBT+ culture was behind the move. “I was not surprised. It comes from the organisational culture of MTVA,” said the source.

Hungarian website index.hu says unnamed media sources believe the reason for the withdrawal was likely to be that Eurovision was deemed “too gay”. Orban’s spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, described the index.hu claim as “fake news” but offered no alternative reason for the pull out.

There is already dismay over the development, with EU chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt taking to Twitter to describe Hungary's decision as “an attack on our European way of life “.

However, some have come out in support. Sky News reports that Andras Bencik, the editor of a pro-government magazine, described the Eurovision Song Contest as a “homosexual flotilla”.

Bencik added: “Many young people thought that this is something for people under 18, but at this event the destruction of public taste takes place with screaming transvestites and bearded women.”

There has been an upsurge in homophobic rhetoric among Hungarian MPs.

Laszlo Kover, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, recently compared supporters of equal marriage and adoption to paedophiles. “Morally, there is no difference between the behaviour of a paedophile and the behaviour of someone who demands such things,” he said.

Istvan Boldog, an MP from Orban’s party called for a boycott of Coca-Cola after the brand launched an advertising campaign using photographs of a gay couple.

In a statement about the Eurovision withdrawal, MTVA said: “Instead of taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020, we will support the valuable productions created by the talents of Hungarian pop music directly.”

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