Irish Eurovision contestant says she got threats, abuse for performing in Israel
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Irish Eurovision contestant says she got threats, abuse for performing in Israel

‘I got hundreds of threats … It did freak me out,’ says Sarah McTernan, adding she went offline in the days before her appearance at contest in Tel Aviv

Sarah McTernan from Ireland (C) performs during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Expo Tel Aviv on May 16, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Guy Prives/Getty Images via JTA)
Sarah McTernan from Ireland (C) performs during the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest held at Expo Tel Aviv on May 16, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Guy Prives/Getty Images via JTA)

Ireland’s contestant in the Eurovision Song Contest said Saturday that she had received terrifying threats and abusive messages after performing in Israel.

Sarah McTernan, 25, told the Irish Sun that “I got hundreds of threats … It did freak me out.”

“I got a few ­sinister threats. They were telling me ‘you have to be careful,’ ‘watch where you go,’ ‘you never know where I’ll be,’ ‘be careful who you’re with,’ That kind of stuff,” she said.

In addition to threatening mail, much of which got delivered to her grandmother’s house, the young singer also received “hundreds and hundreds” of threatening and abusive messages on social media. She reportedly went offline for the days leading up to her appearance in the second semifinal of the competition, held last month in Tel Aviv. She did not advance to the final.

“There is still s*** being thrown at me online but I’m not going to look at it,” she told the newspaper.

Fans pack the concert hall for the first semifinal of Eurovision 2019, in Tel Aviv, May 14, 2019. (Andres Putting, Eurovision)

She said she knew representing Ireland in Israel would be controversial. “I was aware but I didn’t know how much of a backlash there would be,” she said. “I was happy to represent my country.”

Left-wing Irish officials and performers had been calling for their country to boycott Eurovision, beginning just hours after Israel won the 2018 contest and the right to host this year’s Eurovision.

Politics also affected the Eurovision final on May 18, with dancers accompanying pop star Madonna bearing Israeli and Palestinian flags, controversially displayed to the audience while on stage.

Madonna and Quavo sing “Future” at the Eurovision Song Contest as two dancers walk arm-in-arm with Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs, May 18, 2019 (YouTube screenshot)

Madonna drew criticism over the incident, which violated Eurovision’s strict guidelines against any form of political display during the show.

Additionally, at one point, members of Icelandic band Hatari waved scarves bearing the Palestinian flag at the camera as they waited to hear the scores awarded for their song.

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