Italy’s Eurovision song winner tests negative for drugs

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Damiano David

Damiano David responds to questions at the press conference after his band Maneskin from Italy won the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, May 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

ROME (AP) — Eurovision Song Contest organizers said Monday that the lead singer of Italian glam rock band Maneskin tested negative for drug use, putting to an end speculation that had tarnished the band’s victory.

“We consider the matter closed,” the European Brodcasting Union, which produces the annual kitsch-filled song festival, said in a statement.

EBU said it came to the conclusion after it reviewed all the available footage of the TV broadcast Saturday night and saw the negative results of Maneskin singer Damiano David’s voluntarily drug test.

Rumors had swirled on social media — and were raised at a Eurovision news conference — that David had snorted cocaine when he was seen leaning awkwardly over a table during the live TV broadcast. David immediately rejected the claim, saying he never uses drugs and that he was leaning over because his guitarist had broken a glass.

The claims found a particular echo in mainstream French media. France, which was a leading contender for the Eurovision victory, came in second place after the popular votes were tallied.

“We are alarmed that inaccurate speculation leading to fake news has overshadowed the spirit and the outcome of the event and unfairly affected the band,” the EBU statement said.

Maneskin’s win gave Italy a sorely needed boost after a dreadful year as one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus and will bring next year’s competition back to the place where European song contests began.

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