Brazilian YouTuber Felipe Neto gives away 14,000 LGBT+ books, after attempt to censor them

YouTuber Felipe Neto and Rio de Janeiro mayor Marcelo Crivella

Brazilian YouTube star Felipe Neto responded to a politician’s attempts to censor LGBT+ books by giving thousands away for free.

Neto, who is one of Brazil’s most popular YouTubers with 34 million subscribers, made the grand gesture after Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Crivella tried to ban sales of books with LGBT+ themes at the Rio International Book Biennial.

The right-wing politician had sought to censor books on sale after taking exception to an Avengers comic book that features a kiss between two male superheroes, claiming it is “unsuitable for minors.”

Felipe Neto hits back: Love should not be censored

In a video, Felipe Neto branded the attempted censorship a “sad day for Brazilian democracy,” adding: “Love is not porn. Love should not be censored. It cannot be prohibited for minors.”

Announcing his response, he explained: “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.”

In a mischievous act of compliance with the mayor’s demand that LGBT+ books are sold with content warnings, the books come in black bags with a label that says: “This book is inappropriate for backwards, outdated and bigoted people.”

Mountain of LGBT+ books assembled for giveaway

Books available at the giveaway on Saturday included Love, Simon, Call Me By Your Name, Boy Erased and Southermost, with pictures shared of the “mountain” of books ready to be distributed.

A mountain of LGBT+ books was assembled thanks to Felipe Neto

A mountain of LGBT+ books was assembled thanks to Felipe Neto (Companhia das Letras)

Bookstores across Brazil had their LGBT+ stocks bought out for the giveaway, with Companhia das Letras confirming on Twitter: “All the books from our LGBT + section have been sold! ?

“They were all bought by @felipeneto, who will distribute more than 100,00 books — ours and other publishers — tomorrow, free of charge.”

Neto added on Twitter: “It’s time to rise up against tyranny and authoritarianism. Crivella: not here!”

The YouTuber had initially only purchased 10,000 books, but later announced: “I have just authorised the purchase of 4000 more books to bolster the stock of LGBT-themed books at the biennial.

“14000 books will be distributed FREE of CHARGE to those who want them.”

The Avengers comic book that had sparked the row had sold out within minutes of the biennial opening on Saturday, according to reports from Brazilian media.

LGBT+ rights have become a focal point amid rising extremism in Brazil.

In August, the country’s secretary of culture stepped down in protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s censorship of LGBT+ content on TV.