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Bolsonaro’s son banned from Twitch for spreading Covid-19 misinformation

. May 03, 2020
covid-19 misinformation Jair Renan

Jair Renan, a.k.a. 04 — as he is the fourth-oldest son of President Jair Bolsonaro —, was banned from popular live streaming service Twitch after encouraging gamers to break social isolation and engaging in a spot of Covid-19 denialism.

“Go to the streets, o.k.? What pandemic? This is a media invention to lock you inside your home, so you’ll think the world is crumbling. It’s just a little flu, brother,” Jair Renan told viewers during a live streaming session. He added that he would rather die having sex than coughing, before receiving a life ban, according to a post on his Twitter feed

Jair Renan used to hold live streaming sessions of “League of Legends,” arguably the most popular esports game in Brazil. His Twitch channel had over 50,000 followers before his banning. His streaming content included frequent allusions to his father’s nickname “mito” (legend, in English) and to shooting members of the Workers’ Party.

Why it matters

While the banning of a 22-year-old gamer from a video-streaming platform might seem unimportant, streaming platforms have become crucial for the far-right (not only in Brazil) to disseminate extreme ideas. “The far-right has managed to create a propaganda machine associating its ideology to ‘neutral’ subjects, such as animes, make up, or games. Not directly, but using these networks’ ecosystems,” wrote anthropologist Orlando Calheiros. “Basically, through propaganda and sponsoring certain ‘influencers,’ [the far-right] managed to skew the algorithm. People that would go on YouTube to get gaming content would eventually be directed to far-right channels — and get far-right ads.”

Controversy

The Twitch debacle is by no means Jair Renan’s first taste of controversy. He was reportedly romantically involved with the daughter of a former cop thought to be the triggerman in the Marielle Franco assassination. His father called the link between his son and the man “bollocks,” adding that his son had dated “half of their gated community.”

 
Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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