Eurovision will deploy ‘anti-booing’ tech to silence Russia gay rights protests

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

The Eurovision Song Contest will deploy noise-cancelling technology tonight – in case Russia’s entry is booed again over the country’s anti-gay laws.

Over the past few years, the country’s recent entrants to the Eurovision Song Contest have been met with a frosty reception, being met with loud jeers over Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws.

Last year in Copenhagen, loud booing from the crowd was audible amid a performance from Russia’s Tolmachevy Sisters, and as the country declared its results.

However, the European Broadcasting Union is going to extreme measures to make sure the country does not suffer the annual humiliation tonight in Vienna.

Organiser Jarmo Siim told the Moscow Times that “anti-booing technology” will be deployed.

He said: “It was very embarrassing for us last year when this happened and is not in the spirit of the contest.

“We are here to build bridges, as the motto [of the contest] suggests.”

He did not detail the technology that will be used – but in case of loud booing, some have theorised the contest organisers could mute the audience entirely and use a pre-recorded applause track.

Mr Siim added cryptically: “Plan A is to use regular audience sound.”

However, sources tell PinkNews that booing was not audible in the arena the country’s semi-final performance – meaning the tech might not have to be used.

Last month, PinkNews exclusively reported that the BBC had edited a gay rights protest out of the Eurovision anniversary show.

An angry reception for Russia on the night was left completely out of the BBC-hosted event, with a spokesman admitting: “There was indeed a lot of booing from the crowd (…) the introduction was re-shot.”

Russia recently banned Moscow Pride for a tenth year in a row.

The Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest will air tonight at 8pm on BBC One. Polina Gagarina is representing Russia with A Million Voices.

Gagarina has caused a stir by posing with last year’s winner Conchita Wurst – with angry reactions from some in her own country.