An Avengers comic book entitled “Vingadores: A Cruzada Das Crianças” (“Avengers: The Children’s Crusade”) which depicts two male superheroes kissing has sold out at a Rio de Janeiro book fair after the city’s very conservative mayor Marcelo Crivella tried to ban it from being sold.
Marcelo Crivella, who is reportedly affiliated with the evangelical megachurch Universal Church of the Kingdom of God demanded that the ‘offending’ comic book be withdrawn from sale at Rio de Janeiro’s latest book fair. Crivella objected to the comic book because it featured the superheroes, Wiccan and Hulkling, missing.
Crivella, who stated that homosexuality is a “Terrible evil” in his 1999 book “Evangelizing Africa” tweeted about his decision to attempt to banish to book from the book fair. Translated from Portuguese, Crivella wrote, “Guys, we need to protect our children. As a result, we have determined that the Biennial organizers collect books with content that is unsuitable for minors. It is not right for them to have early access to subjects that are not appropriate for their ages.”
Soon, of course, his decision caused a backlash from people suggesting that the mayor was trying to censor homosexuality. In response he wrote on Twitter again, “The decision to collect comic books at the Biennial had only one goal: to comply with the law and protect families. According to ECA (Brazil’s Child and Adolescent Statute), the works should be sealed and identified as to their content. In this particular case, there was no warning on the subject matter.”
The response from those attending the book fair, however, was far from what Mayor Crivella was trying to achieve. Instead of successfully removing the book from sale, the major’s objections caused in surge in people buying the book. By Friday, the book fair’s organisers reported that the comic book had sold out.
The organisers of the book fair also responded to the Mayor’s objections by filing a preventive injunction with Rio de Janeiro’s Court of Justice on Friday. In a statement posted on Instagram, the organizers said the injunction was intended to “ensure the full operation of the event and the right of exhibitors to market literary works on the most diverse themes — as foreseen by the Brazilian legislation.”
In the same statement, the organisers also added, that the biennial book fair, which is one of the largest literary events in the country, “keeps its schedule for the weekend, giving voice to all audiences, without distinction, as a democracy should be. This is a plural festival where everyone is welcome and represented. The book fair, which concludes Sunday, will host events on topics including “happiness, science, motherhood, theater, trans literature, LGBTQA+ and more.”
Shoppers were not the only people who reacted so strongly to the mayor’s attempted ban on the comic book deemed “unsuitable for minors.” A Brazialian YouTuber, Felipe Neto gave away thousands of LGBT+ books for free stating that Crivella’s decision was a “sad day for Brazilian democracy.”
In a video, Felipe Neto said, “Love is not porn. Love should not be censored. It cannot be prohibited for minors. We need to send a message of unity, to show these people there is no way that they will censor LGBT+ content. “So I bought all the stock of all the major LGBT-themed books at the festival, and they will all be delivered for free, tomorrow, to those who are there and want a free book.”
What’s more, the YouTuber put his own michevious spin on the giveaway. Complying with the mayor’s statement that LGBT books should be sold with content warning labels, all the books in Felipe Neto’s giveaway are in black bags with labels that read: “This book is inappropriate for backwards, outdated and bigoted people.”
The YouTuber’s rebellion has caused bookstores across Brazil to temporarily sell out of LGBT+ books. In a statement on twitter, the bookstore, Companhia das Letras, confirmed: “All the books from our LGBT + section have been sold! 🌈” Among th mountain of LGBT+ titles bought by Felipe Neto from these stores include; Love, Simon, Call Me By Your Name, Boy Erased and Southermost. In a post on Twitter, Felipe Neto exclaimed, “It’s time to rise up against tyranny and authoritarianism. Crivella: not here!”