Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie labels Madonna ‘a total prostitute' over Eurovision performance

Danny Thompson
Lead singer of Primal Scream Bobby Gillespie performing at the 3D festival at Slessor Gardens in Dundee, a celebration of design, music and performance to mark the opening of V&A Dundee on September 15. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)

Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie has labelled Madonna ‘a total prostitute’ over her decision to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.

Speaking to Kirsty Wark on Newsnight, Gillespie said: “Madonna would do anything for money, you know, she’s a total prostitute.

“And I’ve got nothing against prostitutes. The whole thing is set up to normalise the state of Israel, and it’s disgraceful treatment of the Palestinian people.

“By going to perform in Israel what you do is you normalise that.

“Primal Scream would never perform in Israel.

“I think Madonna is just desperate for publicity, desperate for the money.

He added: “They pay very, very well.”

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When asked if he understood his comments could be considered anti-Semitic, Gillespie said: “I’m not anti-Semitic at all. All my heroes are Jews. Karl Marx, Bob Dylan, The Marx Brothers.”

The comments received criticism. Music journalist Pete Paphides insinuated Gillespie only made the comments as Madonna is female. Paphides tweeted: “Worth noting that Radiohead played Tel Aviv two years ago and Bobby Gillespie didn’t feel moved to refer to *them* as prostitutes.

“What is it about Madonna that somehow makes the difference here hmmm I can’t think.”

He added: “Do you imagine that if he was asked about Nick Cave, Radiohead or Iggy Pop having played Israel, he would have likened them to prostitutes? I think it’s overwhelmingly likely that he wouldn’t have.”

The Queen of Pop closed the ceremony with a performance consisting of hits Just Like a Prayer and Future. Alongside her onstage were dancers wearing Israel and Palestine flags. The 60-year-old said: "Let's never underestimate the power of music to bring people together."

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - MAY 18: Madonna, performs live on stage after the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on May 18, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)

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The Netherlands won the contest, with singer Duncan Laurence’s song Arcade getting 492 votes. Italy finished second with 465 points and Russian came in third on 369 points.

Michael Rice, representing the UK, finished last, his performance of Bigger Than Us getting just 16 points.