Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was at the center of a firestorm of criticism Wednesday after tweeting obscene footage that he said was proof the country’s famously lurid carnival is out of control.
The new president, frequently criticized for remarks disparaging women, gays and blacks, posted footage of a man urinating on another man’s head, as a way of denouncing what he sees as moral degeneracy in the country.
“I don’t feel comfortable showing it, but we have to expose the truth so the population can be aware and always set their priorities. This is what many street carnival groups have become in Brazil,” the president told his 3.4 million Twitter followers.
The video quickly racked up 2.43 million views after the former army officer posted it, widening divisions in the already split population.
One of the main hashtags trending on Twitter was #ImpeachmentBolsonaro, while another was #BolsonaroTemRazao, or “Bolsonaro is right.” A third top hashtag was #goldenshowerpresident.
In the 40-second clip, which Brazilian media said was filmed on Monday during the carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, three men can be seen dancing on top of a bus stop.
One of the men, skimpily dressed in bondage gear and with bare buttocks, appears to put a finger in his own anus as one of his companions urinates on his head, to whoops from the crowd.
As denunciations lit up the internet, the president followed up with another tweet that asked, “What is a golden shower?” The term is used to describe a sexual fetish.
Some critics denounced the president for using an isolated scene to attack the country’s wildly popular annual carnival, which this year has been used as a platform by many to protest Bolsonaro’s intolerance towards minorities.
Others, including some on the right, said that posting such footage was below the dignity of his office, and had spread the video to a wider audience, including children.
“Bolsonaro, my six-year-old granddaughter saw this scene on Twitter, just like millions of other kids whose parents follow you on Twitter,” said TV journalist Fabio Pannunzio.
“I’d like to know how the president of the republic can explain to them what they have just seen,” he said.
Bolsonaro was elected last year in large part due to the support of the powerful Evangelical community, promising to crack down on the corruption that has decimated the country’s political and business elite, and to get tough on a sky-high murder rate.
But party-goers across the country have launched protests against the president during the first carnival under his administration, including a chanting crowd that formed outside his Rio home during street celebrations this week.