Israeli news and general-content website Ynet has reported that French broadcaster France Télévisions is threatening to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 if KAN doesn’t drop a planned TV series about a French Muslim singer who competes at Eurovision and  is suspected of being a terrorist by the national intelligence agency of Israel as he plans a terror attack against the competition in Tel Aviv.

Back in November 2018 already (and hence BEFORE France had chosen its Eurovision representative), Israeli broadcasting corporation KAN, which is also responsible for producing the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, revealed that it was planning to produce a TV series called “Duz Pua”. The Israeli TV series focuses on a French singer of Muslim origin who uses his participation at the Eurovision Song Contest as a disguise to carry out a terrorist attack against the song contest. The TV series is set to be broadcast in spring before the Eurovision Song Contest and is directed by Dani Sirkin, who was also involved in the award-winning comedy “Hallelujah” (2003) about the background of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel in 1979.

According to Ynet, France Télévisions has threatened to withdraw from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest if KAN airs the series “Duz Pua” as the references are too obvious: This year France will be represented by Bilal Hassani, who is of Moroccan origin and openly gay.

Bilal Hassani, born in 1999 in Paris of Moroccan origin, is a French singer, songwriter and Youtuber. He rose to fame in 2015 when he participated in the second season of “The Voice Kids” with the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 winner song “Rise Like a Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst and joined the team of Patrick Fiori, the French participant in Eurovision in 1993.

After two semi-finals at “Destination Eurovision 2019” with a total of 18 participants, Bilal Hassani beat seven other acts during the final and emerged as the winner, finishing in the 5th place with the international jury but as the clear winner in the televote (35.7%). As part of the Big 5, he will represent France with his song “Roi” at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest’s Grand Final on May 18.

EBU’s LATEST REACTION

The European Broadcasting Union has confirmed that it is now trying to mediate between France Télévisions and KAN, which remains committed to its planned TV series due to the right of free speech and expression:

The EBU is aware of the comic drama that is being produced these days in Israel (for ‘KAN’) and deals with an Eurovision-like event. The EBU stresses the importance to freedom of expression to and the reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest. The EBU is in discussions with the host broadcaster of of Eurovision 2019, KAN, about the production, to ensure that the result will work for both sides.

THE FRENCH BROADCASTER’S STATEMENT

An executive from  the French national broadcaster has confirmed to Télé-Loisirs that they are not threatening to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 denying Ynet’s  report this afternoon that France Televisions was threatening to withdraw due to KAN’s plan to air tv serial  “Duz Pua”.

The French broadcaster confirmed that has no intention of withdrawing by stating the following: 

The whole of the French delegation is at work alongside Bilal Hassani, in view of the final scheduled for May in Tel Aviv … We are in regular contact with the EBU that communicates with all the countries participating in Eurovision, including the KAN channel. In the context of these discussions between channels, the project of fiction ‘Duz Pua’ – which we learned the existence last week – was revealed.

SOURCE: Ynet