Maltese talent show under fire for gay conversion interview


Maltese TV (TVM) plans to pick their Tel Aviv Eurovision representative in tandem with their brand of ‘X Factor’. This marks a departure from the ad-fest that was the Maltese national final.

Last weekend, however, the show found itself in hot water after airing an interview with a would-be contestant who spoke in glowing terms of gay conversion therapy. Matthew Grech, a vocal teacher and member of controversial anti-gay Christian group River of Love, described homosexuality as a sin, adding ‘I used to lead a homosexual lifestyle until I found God’.

Three out of the four judges gave Grech a ‘yes’ vote, though none commented on his anti-gay remarks. The same episode also included an audition by singer Kim Cortis, who spoke about her engagement to her female partner.

Breaking the law

In 2016, Malta became the first country in Europe to ban gay conversion therapy after the parliament in Valetta unanimously approved a bill outlawing attempts to ‘cure’ homosexuals of their sexuality.

The clips with his comments have since been removed from Facebook and Youtube. In an official statement on X Factor Malta’s Facebook page, a spokesperson insisted that the interview was not meant to cause offence and that the contestant’s opinions were not in any way endorsed by the producers.

Maltese Equality Minister Helena Dalli has hit out at TVM for allowing the interview to be aired in the first place: “That interview should never have been aired. It did untold damage to our efforts to change social attitudes towards minorities, including LGBTIQ youths. Gay youths don’t need forgiveness or healing, they need understanding.”