UPDATE: Since this story was first published, Damiano David of Måneskin tested negative for drug use. Find more details here.
France’s Europe minister called on Monday for “total transparency” over speculation that one of Italy’s victorious contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be punished if confirmed.
Damiano David, the vocalist for Roman rockers Måneskin, volunteered to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.
David on Monday again denied drug use, saying the footage shows him bending down to inspect a glass that his bandmate had broken.
“I feel really offended” by the allegations, he told BBC television from Rome. “I think that these kind of things are outrageous. We’re young guys with huge passion for the music and this is actually overshadowing our win.”
“We will get drug-tested and prove that it’s all speculation,” David said, adding that he was due to take a test later on Monday.
“I feel really offended, these kind of things are outrageous”
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) May 24, 2021
“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio.
“If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems,” he said.
French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a favourite to win with her moody ballad Voila. But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, whose song Zitti e buoni (‘Shut up and behave’) earned them a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.
“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”
The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said on Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.
“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper.
“The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its victory and that’s what matters,” she said.
Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation. “What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.
The four members of Måneskin landed in Rome on Sunday evening amid cheers and applause from onlookers.
The band, the first Italian Eurovision winners in 31 years, have a large following in Italy after coming second on the TV song contest X Factor and releasing several hit singles as well as a number-one album, Il ballo della vita.