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Mayor of Rio de Janeiro tried to ban a comic book showing a same-sex kiss — then the book sold out


The mayor of Rio de Janeiro tried to ban the sales of a comic book showing a kiss between two men during the city’s traditional book biennial. In this photo, LGBTQ Brazilians march with a giant rainbow flag during the annual Gay Pride Parade at Copacabana beach in 2014. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro tried to ban the sale of a comic book showing a kiss between two men during the city’s book biennial.

On Thursday, Marcelo Crivella announced that the translated edition of Marvel’s “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade” would be banned from the Riocentro Bienal do Livro, a massively popular literary festival in Rio de Janeiro.


Crivella, who once called homosexuality a “terrible evil” in his 1999 book “Evangelizing Africa,” is a member of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, one of the largest Neo-Pentecostal churches in Brazil.

The book shows two adult men, completely clothed, sharing a passionate kiss. Crivella claimed he was banning the book to protect children from what he described as “sexual content for minors."

Something that was "as a matter of fact, even denounced by the internet,” he added, to justify his claim.

“Guys, we need to protect our children,” the mayor wrote on Twitter. “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.”

In a later message, he explained that "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.”

His tweet came after an Instagram post of Rio de Janeiro councilman Alexandre Isquierdo, who called the book an “absurd crime.” In a passionate speech from the floor, Isquierdo showed the book, saying that the book, written by a “openly homosexual author" is an affront to young people. "It spreads homosexuality to CHILDREN!” he wrote.

Organizers of the book fair refused to comply with his order, and filed a preventive injunction with Rio de Janeiro’s Court of Justice Friday 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,” an official Instagram post read.

The mayor’s act of censorship infuriated book lovers and biennial patrons, who quickly ran to buy a copy. All the commotion helped the editor to sell out all copies of the book.

Problem solved.