Entertainment & Arts

Germany withdraws 'homophobic' Eurovision act

Xavier Naidoo Image copyright EPA
Image caption Xavier Naidoo, a singer of Indian and African heritage, has sold millions of albums in Germany

Germany has withdrawn its act for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, following criticism singer Xavier Naidoo's lyrics are anti-Semitic and homophobic.

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 criticised.

Anti-racism groups complained after his selection, on Thursday, for the Stockholm contest.

Public broadcaster ARD denied the "brilliant" singer was racist.

Executive Thomas Schreiber added: "It was clear that his nomination would polarise 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".

'Problematic' choice

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow won this year's contest, with Heroes

In 2014, when Germany marked the 25th anniversary of reunification, Naidoo was criticised for appearing at a rally of the controversial Reichsbuerger group, which wants the re-establishment of Germany as a two-border state.

On Friday, Germany's most popular newspaper, Bild, questioned his selection, on its front page.

Anti-racism group the Amadeu Antonio Foundation also described the choice as "problematic".

In response, 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.

He also said he represented a Germany that was "open to the world" and tolerant of different religions and lifestyles.

This year's 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 this year's competition, with zero points, would name a new contender as soon as possible, Mr Schreiber said.

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