Explaining Brazil #77: Rio’s war on a gay kiss

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella believes a gay kiss is by definition obscene. He used his administration to try and censor a Marvel comic book containing a scene in which two male, fully-clothed characters kiss. Crivella called it pornography targeted at children and teenagers.

In a country that figures among the top 10 consumers of porn on the internet, the argument that teens would have to buy a comic book to see explicit images is ridiculous. Not to mention that, by Crivella’s standards, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel — which include a few images of men kissing — would have to be covered.

However, this kind of move is part of a ramping up of actions to curb freedom of speech in Brazil. Attacks which have come not only from the right, but also from the left.

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On this episode:

  • Thiago Amparo is a professor at think tank Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Law School. He is a lawyer, and teaches on diversity and discrimination policies and law. Mr. Amparo is also a columnist for newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.

Background reading:

Explaining Brazil is made by:

  • Gustavo Ribeiro, editor in chief of The Brazilian Report. He has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de S.Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale.
  • Euan Marshall, editing. is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Independent, among others.

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