Irish Eurovision hopefuls Wild Youth ‘cut all ties’ with creative director after anti-trans tweets

Wild Youth, Ireland’s Eurovision entrants, have severed ties with creative director Ian Banham after anti-trans tweets from the his Twitter account surfaced.

In a statement posted on Wild Youth’s Twitter today (25 April), the band announced that they have “cut all ties” with Banham because the group “stands for unity and kindness”.

Banham will not be “on or near” the band’s Eurovision journey, according to the tweet. Wild Youth also apologised to “anyone offended by his comments”, and stated that Michael Kealy, the head of Ireland’s Eurovision delegation, was “horrified” by the comments.

While Wild Youth did not explicitly state the reason for the split, Twitter account ESCDiscord has 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.

Banham’s Twitter account has been locked.

The screenshots show the account misgendering trans people, including TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney. He also calls being trans a “cult”.

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Several tweets also congratulate the United Kingdom for “winning” Eurovision in 2022, despite Ukraine garnering by far the most points at last year’s competition, with the UK in second place.

The account wrote: “There’s a reason they call it the Eurovision ‘song’ contest. Not Eurovision “support contest”.

Other tweets posted to the same account are anti-vax in nature, with one in reply to a GB News tweet reporting a predicted upswing in COVID-19 deaths, saying: “Starting to ramp up the fear as the Ukraine plot is fading?”

Wild Youth features Conor O’Donohue, David Whelan, Ed Porter and Callum McAdam. Their entry for the contest, being held in Liverpool on 13 May, is “We Are One”.

Banham’s dismissal was restated by an account called Eurovision Updates, which said: “RTE have fired Ian Banham as creative director for Wild Youth at Eurovision 2023, following a series of transphobic and anti-vaccine tweets emerging online and after pressure from fans.”

The choreographer was announced as the creative director for Ireland’s performance in February. He has worked with acts including Westlife and Nathan Carter, as well as on TV series including Dancing on Ice.

Banham has not yet issued a comment.

The Eurovision Song Contest grand final will air on Saturday 13 May from 8pm on BBC One in the UK.

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