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Germany has withdrawn R&B singer Xavier Naidoo as its choice for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest after media and activists slammed his nomination based on his problematic past using homophobic and anti-Semitic lyrics in song.
Naidoo was originally nominated by ARD, Germany's public broadcasters association, and the public was asked to vote on which song he would sing at the competition.
The poll led to harsh criticism of Naidoo as a choice to represent the country, and the ARD quickly caved.
ARD executive Thomas Schreiber said in a statement: "Xavier Naidoo is a brilliant singer who is, according to my own opinion, neither racist nor homophobe. It was clear that his nomination would polarise opinions, but we were surprised about the negative response."
Schreiber went on to say "the Eurovision Song Contest is a fun event, in which music and the understanding between European people should be the focus," and that "the ongoing discussion about Naidoo could harm the image of the Eurovision Song Contest."
In a statement on his Facebook page, Naidoo said the decision "is ok for me."
"My passion for music and my commitment to love, freedom, tolerance and togetherness will not be slowed down by this," he said.
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