In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has attempted to justify his tweeting of an explicit video and claimed he cannot be racist because a relative is a “known as a big black man”.
The 63-year-old earlier this month shared on social media a sexually explicit clip - reportedly filmed at Sao Paulo’s annual street festival - in which a man is seeing urinating on another person. He later tweeted: “What is a golden shower?”
The move was an attempt to discredit carnival-goers, many of whom protested Mr Bolsonaro’s anti-LGBTQ policies and a money laundering scandal involving the president and his personal driver.
Mr Bolsonaro, who was set to meet Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday, told Fox News host Shannon Bream on Monday the video was already on the internet and “we just shared it to try to showcase how way off track carnival is going in Brazil”.
“Also one of the things that got me elected president was my sense of respect to families, principles, traditions, and customs, and of course respect towards our culture as well as our religion,” he said through a translator.
Brazilians at the time were quick to condemn Mr Bolsonaro’s tweet as a gross misrepresentation of the festival, which took place from 28 February to 5 March.
“I spent an entire carnival seeing so many beautiful things,” TV presenter Astrid Fontenelle wrote in response to Mr Bolsonaro’s tweet. “Then I come across THAT on twitter from the president of the republic that must be followed by MANY children.”
Mr Bolsonaro, dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics”, also spoke out in defence of Mr Trump’s proposed border wall across the US-Mexico border.
“The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions or do not intend to do the best or do good to the US people,” Mr Bolsonaro said, without providing evidence.
“I would very much like the US people to uphold the current immigration policy because to a large extent we owe our democracy in the southern hemisphere to the United States.”
He echoed his US counterpart when he dubbed Brazil’s mainstream media “fake news” and claimed it is “virtually dominated by the left-wing”.
Responding to allegations he discriminates against minorities and women, he said: “I have nothing against homosexuals or women, I am not a xenophobe but I want to have my house in order.”
He added: “I cannot have anything against black people, my father-in-law is known as a big black man.”
Mr Bolsonaro also addressed suggestions he had knowledge of last year’s assassination of Marielle Franco, a gay Rio De Janeiro councilwoman who was shot dead after leaving a work event.
Two former police officers have been charged with the killing, but who ordered the slaying and why remains unanswered.
“I only learned about Marielle Franco after she was killed,” Mr Bolsonaro said. “She was a councilwoman and I never - I have never ever heard anything about her life.
“And one further point, what kind of motivation could I possibly have to be the mastermind of some kind of murder like that? I didn’t even know her.”