Israeli Eurovision-ISIS satire show draws French ire

KAN vows not to shelve upcoming dark comedy, despite concerns from the European Broadcasting Union

A scene from the controversial upcoming KAN show 'Douze Points.' (photo credit: KAN 11/FIRMA FILMS)
A scene from the controversial upcoming KAN show 'Douze Points.'
(photo credit: KAN 11/FIRMA FILMS)
Israeli public broadcaster KAN said on Thursday that it will be going ahead as scheduled with its planned satirical comedy miniseries – about an ISIS plot to attack the Eurovision – despite purported complaints.
“We’re planning to air the show, it has long been planned to be part of our Eurovision programming,” the spokeswoman said. “The French delegation didn’t say anything to us about it – but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it had heard that they were concerned.”
Though the EBU has asked KAN to meet and discuss the future of the project, a spokeswoman for the Israeli public broadcaster made it clear on Thursday that it has no intention of changing anything.
The show, titled Douze Points, is currently slated to air in three parts on KAN 11 at some point in May, the same month that the Eurovision will be held in Tel Aviv. KAN said that an exact air date for the show has not been set, and it is still in production.
In November, KAN begun planning and writing Douze Points – a reference to 12 points, the highest jury score received in the Eurovision competition. The miniseries focuses on TJ, a fictional gay, Muslim, French singer, who is set to take part in an international song contest. The three-part miniseries, said KAN, depicts the singer “being blackmailed by ISIS. The singer has to face a homophobic terrorist, sensational tabloids, obsessive Mossad agents and various questionable characters on his way to win through music, freedom and love.”

טיזר דוז פואה from FIRMA Creative Production on Vimeo.

But the main character in the show has garnered some uncomfortable comparisons to real life.
Last month – at least two months after the script for Douze Points was written – France selected its contestant for this year’s competition in Tel Aviv. That man is Bilal Hassani – a gay, Muslim, French singer.
After the upcoming miniseries received additional press last week, the French TV authorities turned to the EBU to express their discomfort with the show. But contrary to several media reports, France never threatened to boycott the Eurovision over the satirical miniseries. On Wednesday, officials from the French public broadcaster told the French news outlet Télé Loisirs that it never considered such a thing.
“The entire French delegation is working with Bilal Hassani to prepare for the final, [which is] scheduled for May in Tel Aviv,” the statement read. “We are in regular contact with the European Broadcasting Union... in the context of these discussions, we discussed the Douze Points project – which we first learned existed last week.”
A KAN spokeswoman said on Thursday that it too understood that “they never threatened to boycott. We told [the EBU] that we never intended to offend anyone, it’s a comedic show.”
The EBU said in a statement on Wednesday that it is “aware of a ‘comedy-drama’ currently in production” about a Eurovision-like event. “Freedom of expression is of paramount importance to the EBU as is the reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest,” it said. “It is essential that the EBU safeguards both of these on behalf of its members, not least, all participating countries and contestants.” The EBU said that it is “engaged in constructive discussions” with KAN “to ensure a mutually satisfactory outcome.”