A female singer was asked to leave the stage at a government-sponsored music festival on an Israeli beach on Friday because she was wearing a bikini top. Concert organizers in the coastal city of Ashdod demanded that she button a shirt she was wearing over the top, and when she refused they ended the performance, claiming that she was dressed immodestly.
Hanna Goor, who was a contestant on the Israeli reality music show “Kochav Nolad” (“A Star is Born”) in 2004, was performing at the Hagaugust (August Festival), which was organized by the Culture and Sport Ministry.
The free concert on the edge of the Mei Ami beach in Ashdod was sparsely attended, according to the local news site Ashdodnet. Goor, a resident of the city, was opening for the reggae-hip-hop band Hatikva 6.
“I cannot accept the double standard where people are invited up from the beach to attend a performance but I’m not permitted to perform in a swimsuit,” Goor told Ashdodnet. “It wasn’t a provocation but simply a matter of comfort. It’s summer, it’s hot, and we were at the beach. All over the world there are festivals where artists appear wearing whatever they want.
“The fact that I have boobies shouldn’t turn the event into something crass or exaggerated… It doesn’t make sense for a national promoter to control the artists’ wardrobe,” she added.
According to the Haaretz daily, Goor said she had been booked to perform for half an hour, but after her second song one of the festival organizers asked her to cover up. When she refused, she was told to end her performance after the next song.
“I looked to the side of the stage and saw the organizer waiting with a police officer. I realized then that I don’t want to be a part of this embarrassment. Perhaps if my chest were smaller this wouldn’t have happened,” she told Ynet. “Freedom of expression means I get to dress however I want, and since I wasn’t given a dress code for this performance nobody can tell me what to wear.”
Goor said that the incident was “depressing, primitive, insulting and sad.”
In response, a spokesperson for the Culture and Sport Ministry explained that “the festival had some top-tier performers and some local artists who were given the stage and exposure to a wider audience. The festival was for all of our population and was publicly funded.
“Goor’s performance did not respect the audience who came to her performance, and therefore it was necessary to remove her from the stage,” the ministry said, according to Haaretz.
It went on to assert that it would provide “clear instructions to all the promoters working with the Culture Ministry to ensure that this policy is followed at all events” sponsored by the ministry.