I’m the type of writer who gets an idea stuck in my head, then lets it sit there until I decide what to do with it. Or until something else comes along that adds to it. A couple of days ago, Austrian singer Conchita Wurst made a statement that added to an idea I’d been mulling. A statement about ORF, the Austrian broadcasting company, and how much she appreciated them supporting her.
Her comments got me thinking again. About ORF, the people who work there, and the integrity and good morals they seem to exhibit in everything they do. And, of course, how their support of Conchita Wurst, as Austria’s Eurovision Song Contest representative, ensured that those of us outside Austria, who now adore her, didn’t miss out on getting to know this amazing human being.
Which brings me to what I’ve been thinking about ORF since I became aware of them soon after Conchita’s Eurovision win. As, for me, it’s been nice to become familiar with a broadcasting company that seems to believe having good morals and treating people well is just as important as making money and creating good TV.
Here’s what I mean by that.
Conchita and the Anti-Wurst Facebook Page — When ORF chose Conchita Wurst to be Austria’s Eurovision Song Contest representative, to say all hell let loose in some parts of Austria may well be an understatement. That’s because the bigots did their damndest to persuade ORF to drop Conchita Wurst, and choose someone else in her place. Why? For no other reason than she’s a drag queen and, for the narrow-minded among us, that apparently meant she was not worthy of such an honor.
Some of these people went so far as to create an anti-Wurst Facebook page. A page more than 36,000 people ‘liked’. In a country the size of Austria, with its population of just over eight million, that’s a huge number of people. The equivalent of 1.5 million Americans.
But did ORF back down? Obviously not, as Conchita Wurst not only represented Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest, she won the whole thing.
And prior to Eurovision, rather than lessening their support of Conchita, ORF, in fact, increased it. Conchita flew all over Europe to sing and to promote the Austrian entry. She appeared on talk shows, on radio programs, in photo shoots — much of it arranged and supported by ORF.
ORF even produced a documentary, Conchita Wurst: 40 Days to Copenhagen, showing her preparations for Eurovision, and introducing her family and friends to their national audience.
All of which helped to show Conchita as she really is. Not a threatening person who should be kept away from the kids, but someone with family and loved ones just like the rest of us, and a person who was kind and respectful, and who would never treat the bigots in the way they treated her.
ORF representatives at Eurovision — ORF’s support of Conchita Wurst, and of her beliefs of openness and respect, did not stop at getting her to Eurovision. A sizable team was sent with her and, from what I’ve seen on many videos, the ORF representatives who were with her treated her as if she was the most loved and most special person to them.
Videos abound of Conchita being hugged, kissed, and generally respected and cared for, and supported by ORF as much as was humanly possible. In any interview with an ORF representative, they always spoke of her in the highest possible terms.
As I’m the type of person who now makes up my mind about someone from the way they treat Conchita Wurst, I have to say my respect for the people at ORF could not be any higher.
ORF’s continuing support of Conchita Wurst — Of course, ORF’s support of Conchita Wurst hasn’t stopped since Eurovision. Every time there’s a major ORF event, Conchita is not only invited, she often has pride of place.
She has appeared on talk shows, in interviews, at public events, on ORF-run radio, has had another documentary made about her, has recorded the song ‘My Lights‘ for the ORF-backed charitable project ‘Licht ins Dunkel‘ and is generally treated as one of the most important people ORF has ever dealt with.
And when I see this broadcasting company continue to not only support Conchita Wurst in everything she does, but also to treat her with the same respect and love they have always shown her, it makes me happy beyond anything you can ever imagine.
So, to the fabulous people at ORF, while you may think what you do is not always noticed by those outside the company or, indeed, outside Austria itself, I’m here to tell you it is.
I’m just one of many people who not only appreciate everything you have done for Conchita Wurst, but am so happy for her that she has such a wonderful organization of people always ‘in her corner’ supporting everything she does.
And if I do move to Austria next year, as is currently my plan, I can guarantee I’ll be another of those people giving ORF my unconditional support. You are all beyond lovely, and you deserve it.
As for Conchita Wurst, ORF just presented her with a Platinum single for ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ sales in Austria. Yep, that girl just does better and better.
Note: As for an example of the people from ORF and how much they love Conchita Wurst, just watch the video below, filmed right after she won Eurovision. In it, you’ll see Conchita, her manager Rene, her friends, and various ORF representatives. If you were her, wouldn’t you feel loved, safe and appreciated? Because I know I would.