Ireland's 2018 entrant, Ryan O'Shaughnessy, has revealed to the Irish Mirror how he received death threats over his entry in this year's contest a little over a month ago. O'Shaugnessy's entry featured two gay dancers depicting a couple in love. Due to this, there came a backlash from homophobic trolls online.
His song, Together, became a big hit with the LGBT community, which led Ireland to their best result in 5 years, landing them in 16th place. Though Ryan explains how "99% of the reaction has been so good and positive", and that "there have been people writing to [me] saying thank you for portraying a homosexual relationship. People have said that it's allowed them to come out or accept who they are".
Ryan told the Irish Mirror: "I was just talking to a lad from Amnesty International and he was telling me about how with campaigns they've ran in the past, they've received death threats from people for being a little out there with your statements". He revealed how he "received similar threats from homophobic people coming from countries that aren't as liberal as Ireland".
Controversy seems to have followed this performance this year. The EBU banned China (a country that has not got the best rights when it comes to its LGBT citizens) from broadcasting the second semi final and grand final, after the broadcaster MANGO completely cut Ireland's performance, as well as blurring out the LGBT flags waved in the audience during Switzerland (Zibbz)'s performance.
Ryan seemingly added fuel to the fire after posting a controversial tweet regarding Russia's president Putin (a known homophobe).
He captioned the photo "From Russia with Love". The replies seemed to have sparked up some hate towards O'Shaughnessy, including comments such as "this is embarrassing, stop grabbing for attention... it's making us all support you and your song less", "delete", "does someone need attention because they know they will flop", "what the hell are you doing, you went from actually having a chance to qualify to dead last in the semi final", and so on. Meanwhile, other replies continued to show support, such as twitter user @cration2017 who replied "Thanks for your open minded statement! You have my support :)".
Despite the accumulated controversy against the song, it definitely didn't impact Ryan's result as he qualified in the semi finals, placed 16th in the grand finals, and seemingly became a fan favourite towards the end.
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