Eurovision Song Contest organizers that the lead singer of Italian glam rock band Maneskin examined harmful drug use, setting to end speculation that had tarnished the band’s victory. “We think the matter closed,” the European Broadcasting Union, which produces the annual kitsch-filled song festival, said in a statement.
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EBU said it concluded after it evaluated all the available footage of the TV broadcast Saturday night and noticed the negative results of Maneskin singer Damiano David’s voluntarily drug analysis. Rumors had whirled on social media — and were built at a Eurovision news conference — that David had snorted cocaine when he was observed leaning awkwardly over a desk during the live TV broadcast. David immediately denied the claim, saying he never uses drugs and that he was leaning over because his guitarist had broken glass.
The cases found a distinct echo in mainstream French media. France, a leading contender for the Eurovision victory, came second after the popular votes were tallied. “We are scared that inaccurate speculation pointing to fake news has overshadowed the spirit and the result of the event and unfairly affected the group,” the EBU statement said.
Maneskin’s win provided Italy with a sorely required boost after a dreadful year as one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus. It will bring next year’s competition back to the place where European song contests began. The leading singer of the Italian glam rock group which won the Eurovision Song Contest has been released of drug use.
It accompanies an investigation and negative drug test, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) says. Damiano David refused to take cocaine following online speculation after footage revealed him leaning above a table during the grand final on Saturday. “No drug exercise took place in the Green Room, and we think the matter closed,” the EBU said in a statement.
Måneskin, who had been with the favourites to win the contest, earned the top prize with their number Zitti e buoni.
Viewers watching the contest during a live broadcast started asking questions about what the singer was doing when he appeared to bend his face towards a table as the band celebrated their victory.
EBU verified broken glass was found on the floor, and it can be viewed in the live broadcast footage.
“I don’t use drugs. Please, fellows. Don’t say that, no cocaine,” David announced on Saturday.
The EBU announced it was “alarmed that inaccurate speculation pointing to the fake story has overshadowed the spirit and the end of the event and unreasonably affected the band”. “We wish to compliment Måneskin once again and wish them immense success,” it added. “We look ahead to working with our Italian member Rai on delivering a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in Italy next year.”
The band robustly dismissed any drug use and reacted to the accusation in an Instagram story: “We are AGAINST drugs, and we never used cocaine. We are ready to get tasted [tested], cause we have nothing to hide.” French singer Barbara Pravi came second and defended the band on her Instagram page as speculation grew online. Some called for the Italians to be disqualified before EBU gave its verdict.
Måneskin is the first group to win the competition since 2006. They also gave Italy its first victory since 1990, despite their rock number not being typical Eurovision fare.