3 Dollar Bill caught in social media firestorm for Eurovision watch party – NBC New York

3 Dollar Bill caught in social media firestorm for Eurovision watch party – NBC New York
3 Dollar Bill caught in social media firestorm for Eurovision watch party – NBC New York

A popular queer bar in Brooklyn found itself at the center of a political firestorm this week for briefly canceling a Eurovision watch party.

3 Dollar Bill initially called off a planned Saturday event for the finale of the Eurovision song contest because a singer representing Israel was set to perform. In this year’s contest, 20-year-old Eden Golan is a finalist competing for Israel.

During the global competition, there have been large protests over Israel’s participation due to the ongoing war in Gaza.

A post from the East Williamsburg bar on Thursday announcing its decision to cancel the event was immediately met with feverish support and vitriol.

“We’re listening to what you’re saying and recognize that hosting the Eurovision event does not align with our values,” before going on to say, “we understand the concerns raised by our community regarding the need for boycott.”

That decision immediately prompted social media backlash, including from https://twitter.com/RitchieTorres/status/1788748802528088405, who has been a vocal supporter of Israel. He claimed the bar’s decision to drop the event was antisemitism.

The bar did not respond Friday to a request for comment.

Victor Riffel, who performs as Svetlana Stoli, was hired by the event’s producer to co-host the watch party Saturday at 3 Dollar Bill.

“I know other gay bars that are gonna show Eurovision. I don’t see backlash on those pages, actually zero comments on those posts,” Riffel said.

The drag performer believes there are more impactful ways to make change than canceling an event.

“We have to be more engaged in the democratic process, we should be calling our representatives,” Riffel said.

By Friday afternoon, the bar announced the watch party was back on, saying in part:

“We believe in the power of unity and the importance of being a haven for all. Eurovision is a celebration of talent and diversity, not a platform for politics.”

“We have never condoned hatred, violence or discrimination of any kind and realize that this was not reflected on our previous post and we are deeply sorry for disappointing and hurting you with our actions.”

The event, scheduled to start at 2 pm, is now free to attend.

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