Brazil’s anti-LGBT president Jair Bolsonaro cancels NY trip after protests
Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro will no longer be visiting New York City after protests from LGBT+ and environmental campaigners.
Bolsonaro’s spokesman General Otavio Rego Barros announced the news on Friday (May 3), Brazilian media reported.
He mentioned “the resistance and deliberate attacks of the mayor of New York and the pressure of interest groups” as reasons to cancel the trip.
Bolsonaro was due to receive the person of the year award by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce at a gala event on May 14 in New York City.
What was the backlash to the event honouring Brazil’s anti-LGBT president?
The decision was met with protests from LGBT+ and environmental groups that led several sponsors, including media organisation The Financial Times, consulting firm Bain & Company and Delta airlines, to rescind their support for the event.
“Encouraging and celebrating diversity is a core Bain principle,” the consulting group said in a statement quoted in Reuters.
The event organisers noted Bolsonaro’s decision to skip the ceremony on their website, but have not rescinded the award to the Brazilian president, who holds extreme anti-LGBT views, calls himself a “proud homophobe” and one stated he’d rather his son be dead than gay.
“The choice of President Bolsonaro is a recognition of his strongly stated intention of fostering closer commercial and diplomatic ties between Brazil and the United States and his firm commitment to building a strong and durable partnership between the two nations,” the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce wrote explaining the decision to pick Bolsonaro for the award.
“VICTORY: We took on the homophobic President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro and we won.”
— New York State Senator Brad Hoylman
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was selected as the American winner of the award “for his active support of new initiatives between the governments of Brazil and the United States, designed to spur increasing trade and investment between both countries.”
The Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce’s awards ceremony was due to be held at the American Museum of National History, but the institution announced on April 15 it would no longer host the event, after expressing “concerns” at Bolsonaro’s plans to open untouched areas of the Amazon rainforest to commercial exploitation.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also criticised Bolsonaro’s policies in an interview with station WNYC in April, quoted in the New York Post: “He’s dangerous not just because of his overt racism and homophobia, but because he is unfortunately the person with the most ability to be able to impact what happens in the Amazon going forward.”
The event found a new home at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square. A Change.org petition titled “#CancelBolsonaro” calling on the Marriott hotel group to refuse to host the event accrued nearly 65,000 signatures in the three days since it went live.
More from PinkNews
The petition was started by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, who is gay and has two daughters with his husband David Sigal.
“VICTORY: We took on the homophobic President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro and we won,” Hoylman tweeted on Friday, reacting to the news of Bolsonaro canceling his trip. “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” he added.
LGBT+ media monitoring organisation GLAAD also welcomed this development.
“Proud to be the President and CEO of the ‘interest group’ that stood up against anti-LGBTQ bigotry. Bolsonaro’s brand of anti-LGBTQ hate doesn’t belong in New York City,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis wrote in a tweet on Friday.