Labor judge suspends head of Brazil’s anti-racism agency

Labor judge suspends head of Brazil's anti-racism agency
Sérgio Camargo. Photo: Social media

A labor court ruled to temporarily relieve Sergio Camargo from his duties as chairman of the Palmares Foundation, a government agency aimed at promoting black culture and fighting racism in Brazil. Mr. Camargo was accused of intimidating and harassing his subordinates on social media and will now be prohibited from making any administrative decisions, facing a BRL 5,000 (USD 903) fine for every day he disobeys the ruling.

The judge concluded that there is overwhelming evidence Mr. Camargo “consistently conducts himself in an abusive manner.” According to reports from his subordinates, the head of Brazil’s anti-racism agency used racist terms on numerous occasions, calling people with afro hairstyles “bums.” In August, Mr. Camargo tweeted that “if you’re black and proud of your hair, you are not only ridiculous but will always be a loser in the service of victimhood.”

Moreover, Palmares Foundation employees describe an atmosphere of “psychological terror” at the agency, saying Mr. Camargo constantly persecuted left-leaning servants in an aggressive way.

A self-entitled “right-wing black activist,” Sergio Camargo has a long history of controversial quotes denying racism in Brazil and abhorring the country’s black movement. In the past, Mr. Camargo vowed to end Brazil’s annual Black Consciousness Day and has referred to slavery in Brazil as “a lucrative business for both Africans, who enslaved [others], as well as Europeans who dealt slaves [into Brazil].”