Brazil’s Bolsonaro tweets obscene video, draws sharp rebuke
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has aroused outrage by sharing a video on Twitter that shows one man urinating on the head of another man during a Carnival party.
Bolsonaro made the post Tuesday night criticizing the freewheeling celebrations of Carnival, which many Brazilian conservatives like himself detest as heathen and immoral.
The far-right president himself was one of the main targets of revelers’ mockery during this week’s Carnival, a time when samba schools and organizers of thousands of street parties traditionally take politicians to task.
Bolsonaro’s post included video of a Sao Paulo street party in which a man wearing a jockstrap touches himself sexually, then lowers his head while another man urinates on him.
Bolsonaro wrote, “I feel uncomfortable showing it, but we have to expose the truth for the population to know and always make its priorities.”
“This is what many street parties in Brazil’s Carnival have become. Comment and draw your conclusions,” he added.
The tweet quickly garnered tens of thousands of comments, many sharply critical of the post.
“You need medical help urgently,” tweeted journalist Fabio Pannunzio, who said his 6-year-old granddaughter and other children saw the post.
Some jurists argued that posting what amounted to a pornographic video was a violation of presidential rules of decorum, saying it could prompt an impeachment petition.
Others jumped in to defend Bolsonaro, arguing that children shouldn’t be allowed on Twitter anyway and that the president was just showing how debased Carnival celebrations have become.
“The left that shows butts and breasts in the streets, that uses religious symbols for profane acts in the public square, that supports expositions with naked adults for children to touch are now ‘shocked’ by the video shared by the president,” tweeted Joice Hasselmann, a leading congresswoman in Bolsonaro’s party.
Some users said they were reporting the Brazilian president’s post for allegedly violating Twitter’s rules, but the post remained in Bolsonaro’s timeline Wednesday afternoon.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The tweets underscored one of the tactics that helped get Bolsonaro elected: stoking cultural wars.
As a congressman for 28 years, Bolsonaro frequently made disparaging comments about gays, women, indigenous groups and blacks. While such comments always draw sharp criticism, they also garner Bolsonaro attention and feed his narrative as being somebody unencumbered by political correctness.
Wednesday morning, Bolsonaro posted another tweet that seemed to taunt his critics: “What is a golden shower?” he wrote. By Wednesday afternoon, revelers were seen carrying shower heads with yellow paper hanging from them.
Brazil’s Carnival is famed for an anything-goes atmosphere, and Sao Paulo alone had more than 500 street parties, called “blocos,” during Carnival. Many such parties nationwide involve heavy drinking, dancing and people in scant clothing.
This year’s edition has taken particular aim at Bolsonaro, his three sons, all politicians, and others in his administration.
At Rio’s sambadrome, the anti-Bolsonaro chant “Ele nao,” or “Not him,” was heard several times during the parades of the major samba schools on Sunday and Monday nights.
Multiple street parties also had songs against Bolsonaro, including one that called him a “vigilante.” In the northeastern city of Olinda, a giant puppet of the president was booed and stoned.
Mauricio Santoro, a political science professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, said such intense roasting of the president usually doesn’t happen so soon after being elected.
“There is usually a honeymoon period the first year,” Santoro said, adding that he considered Bolsonaro’s method of pushing back a “disaster.”
“Even in an atmosphere of aggressive tweets, such as by U.S. President Donald Trump, this was a different level,” Santoro said. “It’s hard to imagine another president doing this.”