Did President Bolsonaro order Bank of Brazil to pull commercial from air because it featured too many black people?

President Jair Bolsonaro recently contacted Banco do Brasil and told the bank to take a recent commercial off the air (Photos: Stills from commercial)
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President Jair Bolsonaro recently contacted Banco do Brasil and told the bank to take a recent commercial off the air (Photos: Bolsonaro and stills from commercial)

Note from BW of Brazil: Ya know, all the while that Jair Bolsonaro was campaigning to become the President of Brazil, he let people know EXACTLY what type of person he was. All one really needed to do was pay attention to things he said. Realistically, one could have ascertained what type of person he was from the outlandish things he said long before he began his presidential campaign. After all, Bolsonaro had been a state congressman out of Rio de Janeiro for almost three decades before he received the presidential sash  on January 1st of this year. I’ve seen this type of personality before so, in some ways, I have any idea of how he really thinks, even when he doesn’t always reveal his sentiments or possibly lies about them. 

What trips me about his decision to call one the nation’s largest banks and tell its directors to remove a recent commercial is how petty it is. Then again, how shocking can this be from a person who can look into a camera and say that Brazil’s Army “didn’t kill anyone” after photos showed the military take 80 shots at a black man’s family car, taking his life? 

Regardless of how many photos he’s taken with black people, including his apparent favorite, Hélio Lopes, his words and actions combined with those of his sons, also politicians, tell me that this type of personality fits the mold of a blatant racist. In terms of this latest controversy, no one can say with absolute certainty that he requested the removal of this commercial because there were several black people in it (see video below), but I do find myself asking, had the video been the exact same but featured all white faces, would he have taken the same action? I would say, considering Brazil’s preference for whiteness in the media and everything else, probably not, but that’s just me….and a LOT of black Brazilians who have come to the same conclusion. 

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Bolsonaro drops Banco do Brasil director because of commercial featuring black men and women

President personally ordered the withdrawal of the ommercial targeted at the youth audience. Director of Communication and Marketing of BB, Delano Valentim, stepped down

By William De Lucca

President Jair Bolsonaro personally ordered the Banco do Brasil to take off  the air an advertising campaign starring black and tattooed young actors and actresses wearing rings, dreadlocks and long hair. The commercial piece directed at the youth audience did not please the president because it had “too much diversity,” according to Lauro Jardim’s blog, O Globo.

Also according to the columnist, the director of Communication and Marketing of Banco do Brasil (BB), Delano Valentim, career employee of the bank, stepped down from his post. “President Bolsonaro and I agreed that the film should be pulled. The departure of the director is a decision of consensus, including with his own acceptance,” said the president of Banco do Brasil, Rubem Novaes. He did not specify, however, what was wrong with the commercial.

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Actors appearing in Banco do Brasil commercial

“This attitude is a regression to the debate of promoting diversity and equality that we demand from BB and from the whole financial system, which hurts the actions that we claim to combat racial discrimination and the inclusion and promotion of more blacks in the financial market,” says Neiva Ribeiro, general secretary of the Sindicato dos Bancários de São Paulo (Banking Employee Union of São Paulo).

“It’s worrisome, it’s scary, and we expect Banco do Brasil to rethink that position and that the advertisement goes back on air, but that it’s not the only one. That more and more campaigns that include minorities such as blacks, women and LGBTs are launched,” she adds.

Recurrence

The anti-diversity stance is in line with the history of Ruben Novaes and Jair Bolsonaro. The President of the Republic has a collection of sexist phrases, such as when he said that Congresswoman Maria do Rosário (PT), his then colleague of the Câmara (House), did not deserve to be raped because she was ugly. Bolsonaro’s latest homophobic statement was given Thursday morning, during coffee with reporters. Bolsonaro said that Brazil “cannot be the country of gay tourism”. And he went further: “Whoever wants to come here to have sex with a woman, feel free. Now, it cannot become known as the paradise of the gay world in here.” (see note one)

Novaes has a history of Facebook posts loaded with misogyny, sexism and prejudice against women. Among the posts are sexual offenses, playful comments about women’s appearance and ability, as well as sharing false news and unreasonable conspiracy theories.

Repercussions

The president’s biased decision reverberated and generated criticism. Educafro, an entity that fights for the inclusion of the black population in higher education and the labor market, intends to file a complaint with the UN against the removal of the advertisement. According to the coordinator of Educafro frei David Santos, the black population has long been fighting for respect of diversity. “This propaganda consolidates a conquest of the excluded. The decision is very wrong, a setback,” he told the O Globo newspaper.

Regarding the censored video, deputada federal (federal deputy/congresswoman) Maria do Rosário (PT-RS) classified the censorship episode as “one more absurdity” carried out by the government. “This time, Bolsonaro censored an advertising campaign of the Banco do Brasil starring black actors and actresses. For what reason? From what everything indicates, diversity bothers him.”

Rep. Sâmia Bomfim (Psol-SP) questioned the attitude of the president. “Where have you ever seen a president do such a thing without giving any plausible reason?! Bolsonaro can’t stand to see the plurality of bodies and accents in Brazil.”

The journalist Leonardo Sakamoto, of the non-governmental organization Repórter Brasil, emphasized that Bolsonaro’s action, besides being “absurd and violent” against blacks and LGBTs, represents an undue interference by the government in a semi-public company.

SourceSP Bancários

Note

  1. Many Brazilian women have held that Bolsonaro is sexist and for good reason. This particular statement is striking in the fact that he apparently has no problem if foreigners come to Brazil specifically to have sexual relations with the women, considering the amount of sexual tourism Brazil attracts every year. The other curious thing is his statement that he doesn’t want the country to become the “paradise of the gay world”. Considering the fact that Brazil’s LGBT Parade is one of the biggest in the world, regularly attracting between 1-2 million participants every year, I would say it’s a little too late to speak what he doesn’t want the country to become.
About Marques Travae 3169 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. This article is spot on and I agree with all that was written but, let’s not forget white supremacy and demo (people) cratius (power) are polar opposites!……….basically, this means there are no such thing as true elections anywhere you find racism!

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