All across Brazil, people have been talking about how the mayor of Rio de Janeiro tried (and failed) to censor a comic book showing two male superheroes passionately kissing. In the wake of the controversy, social media has been flooded with photoshopped images showing the kissing couple all around Brazil.
"Books like this need to be wrapped in black sealed plastic with a content warning displayed on the outside," said the mayor of Rio, Marcelo Crivella, a former evangelical bishop, in reference to a comic book called “Young Avengers: the Children's Crusade” in which two male superheroes, the sorcerer Wiccan and the warrior Hulkling, kiss. In the book, the two are in a committed relationship.
“It’s not right for minors to have easy access to topics that aren’t appropriate for their age,” Crivella added.
Crivella then banned sales of the book, demanding that it be withdrawn from sale at Rio's biennial book fair, which ended on September 8. However, this had the opposite effect -- as soon as the ban was announced, participants rushed to buy the book, which soon sold out.
On September 9, Brazil’s Supreme Court overturned the ban. The court also made it illegal to ban any LGBT content.
Social media users mocked the mayor’s attempted ban by flooding the internet with photoshopped images of the kissing couple in various locations around Rio de Janeiro.
In another act of protest, Brazilian YouTube star Felipe Neto, who has 34 million subscribers to his channel, bought 14,000 books on LGBT themes and gave them out for free at the book fair.