Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has come in for criticism after a homophobic rant against a journalist. He told a reporter at a regular press briefing on Friday, December 20, 2019, "Your face looks an awful lot like a homosexual's, but that's no reason to accuse you of being a homosexual."
His son Sen Flavio Bolsonaro is being investigated over corruption charges, causing much embarrassment to the president, whose election campaign mainly focused on corruption and crime. Called 'Trump of the Tropics', he has made derogatory statements against women, gays and Brazil's racial minorities in the past.
The comment was quickly picked up by his opponents and critics. "An awfully homosexual face.' With pride!", Jean Wyllys, an openly gay former law-maker, who now is a professor at Harvard University, wrote on Twitter.
Manuela D'Ávila, a prominent leftist politician tweeted, "Bolsonaro commits homophobia crime so that we forget about his son's schemes. But we do not forget: he is homophobic and the son ...."
Bolsonaro complained that the media has accused him of being racist and that he has committed a crime against the environment.
When asked whether he had proof that a suspicious deposit into his wife's bank account was merely repayment of a debt, Bolsonaro told the journalist, "Ask your mother if she gave your dad a receipt," AFP reported. He asked whether the reporter had a receipt for his shoes. "No, you don't have it!" he concluded.
The 38-year-old Flavio, himself a politician, is being investigated over corruption charges, causing major embarrassment to his father. Prosecutors are investigating allegations that Flavio hired employees with no duties while he was a state legislator.
Another investigation is into whether those employees with no duties kicked back part of their salaries that were later laundered through a chocolate shop owned by the younger Bolsonaro, who on Thursday posted a YouTube video offering a clarification.
Derogatory comments in the past
The Brazilian president has made several controversial comments in recent years. In 2017 he said, "I have five children. Four were boys, on the fifth I got weak and had a daughter." In 2014, he told a woman lawmaker, "I would not rape you because you are not worthy of it."
On homosexuality, he said he would "rather have his son die in a car accident than be gay. I'm not going to combat or discriminate, but if I see two men kissing on the street, I'm going to hit them."
Referring to Brazil's racial minority, people of African origin, he said, "Look, the lightest African descendant there weighed 100 kg. They don't do anything. They don't even serve to reproduce."