Eurovision singer sues over online gay hatred
France’s Eurovision contender has launched legal action after receiving more than a thousand hate messages over his sexuality and feminine appearance.
Bilal Hassani’s case is backed by the association Stop Homophobie, whose spokesperson Joël Berthout said: “The bullies think they can say anything under freedom of speech.”
The 19-year-old singer’s lawyer said the social media messages, which say they hope he will die and claim he is a disgrace to his country and his religion – although his beliefs are not known – were “unacceptable”.
Culprits risk six years in prison and a fine of €45,000.
Bilal, who is Parisian with French-Moroccan parents, has asked people to “let him live”.
He has apologised over an old tweet in which he accused Israel – host of the Eurovision contest on May 14 – of crimes against humanity, and after a video was published showing him joking about terrorism. He said he was young at the time.