Hovi Star, who is set to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest in May, reports that he was humiliated and bullied while going through security at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Russia.
Star, along with several other contestants, was visiting Russia as part of the Eurovision tour.
"In Moscow, people have a rough time with me, maybe because I'm gay. Maybe because I dress like this, maybe because I wear makeup—I don't know," Star said in an interview with Maltese television.
"When I wanted to get into Moscow I had problems with passport control," he continued. "They told me I can't go in. They looked at my passport, they ripped my passport and they laughed at me."
Dmitry Melnikov, the event coordinator for the Moscow leg of the tour, responded that while it was true that there was "some delay when Star passed through passport control...no one intended to humiliate him."
Melnikov added Star "was dressed in an eye-catching way and may have interpreted a standard smile of an airport official as abusive."
Though Star says experience was unpleasant, he says he's using it as a learning opportunity.
"It is amazing that this happened in the Eurovision bubble because my song, 'Made of Stars,' talks about equality, about how everyone was born the same."
"I choose love," he added "It's free. There's no need for hate, there's no need for negativity."
See Star choose love in the music video for "Made of Stars" below.
The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest will air commercial-free May 14 at 3pm on Logo.
- Hope You’re Hungry — the ‘Drag Me to Dinner’ Trailer Is HereThe campy cooking show premieres May 31 on Hulu.05/08/2023
- Jonathan Groff Joins 'Doctor Who'The already-stacked cast includes Jinkx Monsoon, Neil Patrick Harris, Ncuti Gatwa, and more.05/05/2023
- Hayley Kiyoko Pushes Back on Nashville Anti-Drag Laws, Brings Queens on Stage"We will not be silenced," said the "Girls Like Girls" singer.05/04/2023
- Alex Newell and J. Harrison Ghee Make Theater History With Tony NominationsThe gender-nonconforming actors are breaking down barriers on Broadway05/03/2023
- 40 Drag Superstars Serve (Food) in Hulu’s ‘Drag Me to Dinner’Alaska, Jackie Beat, Jinkx Monsoon, and many others will appear in the campy competition series, premiering May 31.05/01/2023
- Queer Partners Try Out Polyamory in Enlightening 'Couples Therapy' Clip"If you're not relying on a long-standing tradition you have to invent something new."04/28/2023