Things That Matter

Brazil’s President Told A Reporter He Had A “Homosexual’s Face” At A Truly Bizarre Press Conference

Brazil’s LGBTQ+ community has faced significant challenges in the past few years. The primarily Catholic country tends to experience high levels of homophobia based on religious dogma. Trans women in Brazil are not only discriminated against, but also harmed and murdered at dramatic rates, some of the highest in the world. Added to this, the far-right is back in power and Jair Bolsonaro, a businessman who many compare to Donald J Trump for his populist discourse and extreme conservative views, is the president.

Like Trump, Bolsonaro often blames the media for everything, Bolsonaro is particularly wary of the conglomerate Globo (like Trump is, say, of CNN). He has constantly accused the media of bias and also made derogatory comments against women and minorities. His mishandling of the Amazon fires and the imperialist approach he has to indigenous communities are also infamous. 

Bolsonaro is outspoken and sometimes seems to just wing it in speeches, saying outrageous things that are both often half-truths and testament to his intransigent worldview (does it sound eerily familiar?). A recent episode evidences just how deeply flawed Bolsonaro’s views on diversity are and how threatening the current sociopolitical climate is for LGBTQ+ Brazilians is. 

So during a press conference Bolsonaro was asked about his son’s alleged acts of corruption.

Credit: EuroNews / Giphy

Brazil, after all, is part of Latin America, a region where politicians and presidents are infamous for being either corrupt or having shady family or friends. So one would assume that the Brazilian president would know how to respond to questions about corruption among his family members. It literally is the bread and butter of Latin American politics.

Well, Bolsonaro was confronted by a reporter, who asked him about his son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, and claims that point to institutional corruption that leads to him.

As The Telegraph UK reports, during a heated exchange “Mr Bolsonaro accused the press of bias against him and his son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, who is being investigated by prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro over allegations that he hired staff with no duties while he was a state legislator.”

The Senator has also been accused of hiring “ghost workers” in the past. The younger Bolsonaro has denied these allegations and conservative groups in Brazil point towards a left-wing, Lula-supporting conspiracy against the Bolsonaro administration. 

So did the president keep his cool? Nah! He lashed out against the reporter saying he had “a homosexual’s face”. Yes, he went there! Like, WTF dude?

Think about the worst that a politician can say and you will not even be close to what Bolsonaro told the reporter. Ready? Here it goes: “Your face looks an awful lot like a homosexual’s, but that’s no reason to accuse you of being a homosexual.”

Let’s unpack this a little bit: he basically argued that there is a “homosexual” type of face (which is the first sign of discrimination, which starts with generalizations) and he implied that homosexuality is wrong, something that people can be “accused” of. His supporters and staff laughed as he said this, while the opposition took on social media to post head shots of themselves with the caption “homosexual face”.

Bolsonaro is famous for his incendiary comments, of course, as The Telegraph reminds us: “Mr Bolsonaro has a history of making derogatory remarks about women, gay people and racial minorities, including on last year’s campaign trail, though such comments have been less frequent since he took office at the beginning of this year.” It seems like his PR team is trying to reign him in, but he sometimes goes off script and chaos follows.

But what on Earth is a “homosexual’s face”? Perhaps this?

Mr Bolsonaro, Ricky Martin is definitely much hotter than you, you gotta give him that. If this is a “homosexual face” then, damn, that reporter is lucky. 

What about this gorgeous queer face?

Miss Spain Patricia Yurena has come out as gay. Is this what you meant by a “homosexual’s face”, Mr Bolsonaro?

Or perhaps the mug of Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz?

We wonder if Bolsonaro, or anyone in his circle for that matter, would dare to mock Cruz based on him being gay. He packs a mean punch! Orlando came out a few years ago and rocked a sport which is based on a very set idea of what masculinity is. The boxing community was surprisingly supportive and homophobic comments were highly criticized. 

Are these faces in Sao Paolo what you would describe as “homosexual”, Mr Bolsonaro?

Credit: VamosGay.com

We got a question for you, Jair. Are you as proud about yourself as these brave Brazilians? Nah, we didn’t think so. 

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

Things That Matter

Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

Photo via Getty Images

It seems like every new product rollout, Apple gets stingier and stingier with what they include with each purchase. And while Brazil has recently been in the headlines for controversial news, this time, they have the public opinion on their side. Standing up for consumers, Brazil is fining Apple for alleged “false advertising”.

On Friday, a consumer watchdog agency announced that Brazil is fining Apple for $2 million. The reason? Not including a charger with the iPhone 12.

According to Procon, the São Paulo-based consumer protection agency, Apple’s decision not to include a charger with the iPhone 12 amounts to “false advertising”. Procon also accused Apple of selling “defective products”, creating unfair contracts for consumers, and failing to repair products that are still under warranty.

Per Brazilian media, Procon contacted Apple last year to ask them why they were now excluding chargers and earbuds. However, the company “never offered a convincing explanation” to the Brazilian agency.

“Apple needs to understand that in Brazil there are solid laws and institutions for consumer protection,” said Procon executive Fernando Capez, explaining why Brazil is fining Apple. “It needs to respect these laws and these institutions.” 

In October of 2020, Apple announced that it would no longer include chargers or earbuds in their iPhone boxes. The company cited “environmental concerns”.

But savvy consumers couldn’t help but be skeptical of Apple’s explanation. Some people thought that Apple’s “environmental decision” was simply a pretense. In reality, they thought it might be a gimmick to take more money from customers under the pretense of environmentalism.

For one, we fail to see how including chargers and earbuds in an iPhone package would help the environment. Wouldn’t individual boxes for each product simply contribute to more waste? We digress….

In general, consumers across the globe can’t help but…agree with Procon.

Anyone who is an Apple devotee (read: prisoner) knows that you can end up feeling trapped as a customer. You become roped into an endless cycle of buying products that seem to be diminishing in quality every year. Not only that, but every year, the iPhone becomes more expensive while customers get less bang for their buck.

But at some point, you feel like you have to buy Apple products. Because of how Apple designs their products, all of the technology you own (laptops, tablets, chargers, etc.) only works with Apple products.

Starting to buy a different brand would be akin to throwing away hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars you’ve already invested in Apple tech. To be an Apple customer is to be stuck in a vicious cycle.

Hopefully, other governments will follow suit. After all, big tech has been taking advantage of consumers for too long.

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