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Bambie Thug says EBU 'ordered' change to Ogham make-up that spelled out pro-Palestine messages

Singer Eric Saade, who wasn’t competing, also displayed a pro-Palestine symbol during the opening act.

IRISH EUROVISION SINGER Bambie Thug says they were ordered by song contest organisers the European Broadcasting Union to change their stage make-up in advance of tonight’s show, in keeping with the competition’s rules against political statements. 

The content of the messages spelled out in the make-up – written in the ancient Ogham alphabet – has been a talking point online in recent days after the Cork-born singer performed in rehearsals with the writing on their face and legs. 

Asked by a reporter at the post-show press conference why they felt it was important to display the messages, spelling out ‘Ceasefire’ and ‘Freedom for Palestine’, the singer responded: 

“It was very important to me because I am pro-justice and pro-peace. Unfortunately I had to change those messages today to ‘crown the witch’ only – an order from the EBU.”

Bambie Thug was among the ten acts qualifying from the first semi-final – the first time an Irish act has made it through since 2018.

The singer has come under pressure to pull out of the competition from pro-Gaza campaigners, due to Israel’s presence in Eurovision, but has consistently insisted they would stay in and act as a pro-Palestine voice among competitors. 

Elsewhere, the EBU earlier said they “regret” the fact that a singer who took part in the opening act made a political statement from the stage. 

Former Swedish contestant Eric Saade, who was not competing, had the keffiyeh symbol, commonly used by people who want to show they are pro-Palestinian, on his arm as he performed his 2011 entry Popular.

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A spokeswoman for the EBU said:

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a live TV show. All performers are made aware of the rules of the contest, and we regret that Eric Saade chose to compromise the non-political nature of the event.”

Tuning into Eurovision and looking for something to read? You’ll find a quick guide to this year’s contest here, and we published this comprehensive piece on the controversy around Israel’s inclusion at the weekend

The Journal’s Daragh Brophy is in Malmö covering the contest and surrounding events – you can follow him here on Twitter/X

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