While the theme of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was “Celebrate Diversity” it has now comes to light that Croatian singer Jaques Houdek has faced claims of homophobia after he was nominated as “Homophobe of the Decade” from the country’s biggest LGBT event, Zagreb Pride, in 2011.
They awarded Houdek the questionable honor for calling same-sex unions ‘sick’.
In a 2005 interview Houdek gave to magazine Tena he also said the ‘gay and lesbian population cannot be equal with other citizens because it means a return to Sodom and Gomorrah’.
Houdek is a popular figure in Croatia, however, having produced 13 best-selling albums there; he originally rose to fame in the competition to become Croatia’s Eurovision entry in 2002, and is now one of the mentors on the country’s version of The Voice.
As reported by Pink News, Houdek published a denial statement in 2011 on Facebook, saying: “It is not true that I am [a] homophobe, which can be confirmed by my friends, colleagues and acquaintances from business circles who are gay.
“Likewise, any form of hatred does not correspond to my personality, so to call me [a] ‘hater’ or ‘greatest homophobe in Croatian show business’, is inappropriate, because no such evidence exists for such accusations…”