Olly Alexander urged to 'do the right thing' and boycott Eurovision hours before final

olly looking sad
Olly has been urged to quit the show -Credit:BBC

Olly Alexander, the former Years and Years singer, has been urged by fans to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest just hours before he is due to represent the UK on stage.

The plea comes amid protests outside the Malmo Arena in Sweden over Israel's involvement in the competition.

Alexander's participation in Eurovision has been mired in controversy due to Israel's ongoing military actions led by Benjamin Netanyahu against Palestine. Despite previously signing a letter condemning Israel as an "apartheid regime" prior to his announcement as the UK's contestant in December, Alexander has faced criticism from fans and activists for not withdrawing from this year's event.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, a nonviolent Palestinian-led initiative advocating boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions against Israel, has called on Eurovision fans, hosts, performers and workers to boycott this year's contest and urged viewers not to tune in tonight.

Olly has responded to calls for his withdrawal in a BBC documentary. The "It's A Sin" actor was overcome with emotion while addressing the controversy and backlash.

Just hours before the final, Queers for Palestine issued one final appeal to Olly to withdraw in solidarity with the Palestinian people, reports the Mirror.

In an open letter addressed to the UK entry, Queers For Palestine - who have been lobbying Olly and other acts to quit for months - wrote on Instagram, "Can you hear your fans chanting all over Europe for you to do the right thing and boycott Eurovision? Despite the slogan 'United by Music', this Eurovision will forever be remembered as among the most complicit: United by Genocide. The organisers, the European Broadcasting Union (@ebu_hq) are protecting genocidal Israel by refusing to exclude it from the contest, and are instead banning all shows of solidarity for Palestine."

They added: "Olly, once you take the stage on Saturday there is no going back. We know that the last few months have been a hard time for you. Being asked to sacrifice such a big career moment is no easy choice, and we appreciate the thought you must have put into it. As many of us know, taking a stand can be sincerely challenging, but your community stood with you in opposition to Israel's pinkwashing of genocide with the Voices 4 London letter you signed. You still have the power to make a difference we are all looking to you."

"We know you must feel dizzy with the pressure. But we ask one last time: join the millions of us around the world who support Palestinian liberation and are prepared to make sacrifices when necessary and when called upon to do so by oppressed communities."

"We in Queers for Palestine salute the countless venues and organisers across Britain from Edinburgh to Bristol, London to Brighton and all over Europe, who have cancelled Eurovision screening parties, heeding the call from Palestinians and their own communities, queer and otherwise. They recognise that what they stand to lose is minor in comparison to the genocide being inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza every day."

"As we write this, Israel is on the verge of invading Rafah, the last designated "safe zone" in besieged Gaza, after bombing it for days. Whatever glitz and glamour of Eurovision remains, after being so thoroughly tarnished by the EBU's failure to ban apartheid Israel, can only constitute a disgraceful artwashing and pinkwashing of genocide. You should have no part in it, as we believe you recognise."

"Olly, as a beloved queer icon you have substantial influence. As drag queen @crystal.will.see.you.now said on BBC Newsnight yesterday to all of us, 'This is something you can do. Boycott.' We will be boycotting Eurovision until Israel is banned. You can still join us. You will be rich in our love and admiration, and in your heart for having done the right thing."

Fans have been urging Olly Alexander to take a stand, with comments on social media such as: "@ollyalexanderr what's more important, a performance, or the lives of millions? " and "@ollyalexanderr You know the right thing to do, please have the courage to make a stand," Another follower implored, "@ollyalexanderr don't sacrifice your integrity for mainstream financial gain. stand with your queer community in solidarity with Palestine."

Previously showing his support for the Palestinian cause in October, Olly spoke out against the violence between Israel and Hamas, the authority in Gaza. He backed a letter from LGBT group Voices4London that branded Israel an 'apartheid regime' and accused it of trying to "ethnically cleanse" Palestinian territories.

Despite the growing calls to join the BDS movement's boycott due to Israel's involvement in Eurovision, Olly has described the situation as "an incredibly complicated political situation, one that I'm not qualified to speak on."

In the BBC documentary Olly Alexander's Road To Eurovision '24, he addressed the backlash and defended his choice to disregard the boycott demands.

The singer expressed his distress during the documentary, stating: "A lot of the contestants and myself have been having a lot of comments that are like 'You are complicit in a genocide by taking part in Eurovision' which is quite extreme. It's very extreme," visibly affected by the comments. "I understand where that sentiment is coming from but I think it's not correct.He continued: ".

He went on to say: "It's an incredibly complicated political situation, one that I'm not qualified to speak on. The backdrop to this is actual immense suffering. It's a humanitarian crisis, a war. It just so happens there's a song contest going on at the same time that I'm a part of."

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