Bilal Hassani, who will represent France at Eurovision, has filed a lawsuit against unnamed people for cyberstalking and homophobic threats made over the internet.
By Carolina McCabe
Bilal Hassani’s lawyer, Etienne Deshoulieres, announced on Tuesday that the French representative for Eurovision 2019 had filed a complaint in court over harassment and threats he received. The 19 year-old singer of Moroccan origin won the contest to represent France at Eurovision on January 26, 2019.
Hassani’s lawyer stated the complaint had been lodged against unnamed defendants for “insults, incitement to hatred and violence and homophobic threats.” The organization Stop Homophobia has supported the lawsuit.
Campaigners claim that the singer has been targeted by over 1,500 homophobic tweets. The singer, who has a large following, has also received death threats.
If convicted, culprits, “could face up to six years imprisonment and a 45,000 euro fine,” said Deshoulieres. “As for these 200 complaints, the goal of Bilal Hassani’s is to say that we can no longer insult, threaten, call to murder on the internet without the anti-homophobia associations reacting,” elaborated his lawyer.
“People who believe they are protected by anonymity behind their computers need to be concerned.”
While Hassani was born and raised in Paris, his parents are Moroccans from Casablanca. After singing throughout his childhood, Hassani was a contestant on “The Voice Kids” in 2015. As a teenager, Hassani creates songs and posts them to his social media accounts. Hassani is openly gay, has a gender-neutral style, and owns a large collection of colorful wigs.
Hassani’s song “Roi” (King), which he performed for Eurovision, has over 7 million views on his Youtube channel, which has over 818,000 subscribers. The song is an anthem for self-acceptance and being true to one’s self. The Eurovision 2019 contest will take place in Tel Aviv in May to over 184 million watchers worldwide.