The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest took place this weekend, offering a bountiful harvest of corny European pop music and seething international rivalries. The winners, an Italian glam-metal band named Måneskin, captured the horny energy of a crowd just emerging from lockdown. But within minutes of winning, Måneskin were embroiled in a drug scandal.
While the votes were being tallied, the Eurovision cameras caught Måneskin’s lead singer Damiano David bending over a table in the green room. The clip quickly went viral, with people speculating that he was snorting cocaine on live TV.
A lot of commenters embraced this as a chaotic sign of the Eurovision spirit. But thanks to the long wait between the performances and Måneskin’s winning press conference, the video had plenty of time to become a trending topic and attract attention from reporters at the contest.
That’s how we ended up with this very awkward interview clip of a shirtless, tattooed Italian rock star explaining that he doesn’t use drugs, and that he was actually looking down at a broken glass on the floor. “No cocaine, please. Don’t say that.”
People weren’t completely convinced by this statement, but just to editorialize for a moment: Would it really be that scandalous for a Eurovision contestant to enjoy recreational drugs? It’s Eurovision, not the Olympics. If anything, it would be kind of shocking to discover that the contest was totally drug-free.
At any rate, the Eurovision Broadcasting Union felt the need to investigate what happened. The band “strongly refuted” the allegations, with the EBU releasing a statement saying, “The band, their management and head of delegation have informed us that no drugs were present in the Green Room and explained that a glass was broken at their table and it was being cleared by the singer.”
They’re also investigating other footage from the scene, and David volunteered to take a drug test and clear up the rumors. It does seem like he was telling the truth. While the TV clip initially looks incriminating, eagle-eyed fans pointed out that his face is actually much further from the table than it looked on-screen.
It’s not clear what would actually happen if David’s drug test came back positive. Eurovision history is riddled with scandals, but there’s no precedent for a winner’s title being revoked. And considering Måneskin’s popularity, Eurovision fans might balk at the idea of a serious punishment for something like this.
Watch the band’s winning entry below.
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