Hovi Star, who is set to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest in May, reports that he was humiliated and bullied while going through security at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Russia.
Star, along with several other contestants, was visiting Russia as part of the Eurovision tour.
“In Moscow, people have a rough time with me, maybe because I’m gay. Maybe because I dress like this, maybe because I wear makeup—I don’t know,” Star said in an interview with Maltese television.
“When I wanted to get into Moscow I had problems with passport control,” he continued. “They told me I can’t go in. They looked at my passport, they ripped my passport and they laughed at me.”
Dmitry Melnikov, the event coordinator for the Moscow leg of the tour, responded that while it was true that there was “some delay when Star passed through passport control…no one intended to humiliate him.”
Melnikov added Star “was dressed in an eye-catching way and may have interpreted a standard smile of an airport official as abusive.”
Though Star says experience was unpleasant, he says he’s using it as a learning opportunity.
“It is amazing that this happened in the Eurovision bubble because my song, ’Made of Stars,’ talks about equality, about how everyone was born the same.”
“I choose love,” he added “It’s free. There’s no need for hate, there’s no need for negativity.”
See Star choose love in the music video for “Made of Stars” below.
The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest will air commercial-free May 14 at 3pm on Logo.