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Irish Eurovision hopefuls Wild Youth cut ties with creative director over anti-trans tweets

Eurovision hopefuls Wild Youth have cut ties with their creative director after alleged transphobic tweets
Eurovision hopefuls Wild Youth have cut ties with their creative director after alleged transphobic tweets Copyright @WildYouth / Twitter
Copyright @WildYouth / Twitter
By David Mouriquand
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Irish Eurovision hopefuls Wild Youth have cut ties with their creative director over anti-trans tweets

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Wild Youth, the Irish representatives for Eurovision 2023, have “cut all ties” with their creative director Ian Banham following screen grabs being circulated on Twitter of posts which were of a transphobic nature.

The band frontman Conor O'Donohoe said he "felt sick" reading the tweets and apologised to those hurt by those remarks.

The band took to Twitter to announce their decision to part ways with the choreographer, just two weeks before the competition’s first semi-final, with the following statement:

“Wild Youth is a band that stands for unity and kindness. Our song represents our beliefs as a band. We have cut all ties with Ian Banham and will not have him on or near our team or Eurovision journey. We are so sorry for anyone offended by his comments.”

Twitter account ESC Discord posted screenshots from what is allegedly Banham’s account, detailing tweets of a transphobic and anti-vax nature, as well as some seemingly denouncing support for Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion. 

He calls being trans a “cult” and several tweets congratulate the UK for “winning” Eurovision in 2022, despite Ukraine’s win. The account wrote: “There’s a reason they call it the Eurovision ‘song’ contest. Not Eurovision “support contest”."

According to his website, Banham has worked in the past with stars including Kylie Minogue, Cheryl, Lily Allen and Westlife. He was also the choreographer for the most recent series of Ireland's version of Strictly - Dancing With The Stars Ireland.

Wild Youth will be performing their song 'We Are One' in position 6 of the first semi-final on Tuesday 9 May.

The song was written by Grammy-nominated composer Jörgen Elofsson and band members Conor O’Donohoe and Ed Porter. The song is a call to celebrate diversity, and according to one of its composers, it is inspired by the Eurovision’s mission to build bridges across Europe.

The indie pop band Wild Youth debuted in Dublin in 2016, with its four members, David Whelan (vocals/guitar), Conor O’Donohoe (keyboards/vocals), Ed Porter (guitar/vocals) and Callum McAdam (drums). They released their debut single, 'All or Nothing' in May 2017. The band have gone on tour with artists like Lewis Capaldi and Niall Horan, and have also sold out several of their own concerts held in the UK and Ireland. O’Donohoe has composed for various artists such as The Script and Britney Spears, and co-wrote Ireland’s song for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, 'Dying to Try', performed by Brendan Murray.

The 2023 Eurovision song contest is due to get underway in Liverpool on 9 May. The second semi-final will take place on 11 May while the grand finale is on 13 May. Euronews Culture will be in Liverpool to bring you live updates and coverage of this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

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