Rio de Janeiro mayor bans Avengers comic book over gay kiss

Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Crivella ordered a halt to sales of the Marvel Avengers comic book

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Crivella, has sought to stop sales of an Avengers comic book because it features a kiss between two men.

Mayor Marcelo Crivella ordered the removal of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade from sale at the Rio International Book Biennial, because it features a kiss between superheroes Hulkling and Wiccan.

In a video posted to social media, Crivella claimed he would “protect our children” by removing the “books with content that is unsuitable for minors.”

Crivella claimed: “It is wrong for them to have access to subjects that they are too young to understand.”

The video illustrated Crivella’s comments with the kiss in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, a comic book by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung that was first released in 2010.

Rio de Janeiro mayor ordered officers to seize copies of ‘gay’ Avengers comic

According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the mayor ordered officials to go through the book festival to confiscate comics with content deemed “inappropriate” for children.

Wolney Dias of the Municipal Secretariat of Public Order told the newspaper that the decision was “not censorship,” but added: “If the material is not following the recommendations, it will be collected.

“We are following the guidance of the city prosecutor’s office.”

Rio de Janeiro's Mayor, Marcelo Crivella

Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor, Marcelo Crivella (MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty)

The mayor’s intervention came days after Rio councilman Alexandre Isquierdo directly attacked the 2010 Avengers comic, waving it at a public meeting.

Isquierdo had claimed: “A warning to parents! Marvel’s children’s book spreads homosexuality to CHILDREN!

“The comic book is being sold sealed at the Book Biennial and in bookstores, parents only realise the content later. An awful crime!”

Crivella, an ally of the country’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, has previously described homosexuality as an “evil behaviour.”

He has vocally opposed same-sex unions and LGBT rights reforms.

Far right have stoked tensions over LGBT+ issues in Brazil

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.

Bolsonaro had banned funding for films and TV show with LGBT+ themes, describing such screenplays as “throwing money away”.

In March, Bolsonaro shared a video of a man urinating on another man’s head in a bizarre attack on LGBT+ people.

During his presidential campaign, Bolsonaro stood by a claim that he would punch gay people if he saw them kissing in public.

Defending the comments, the then-candidate compared gay kisses to “a paedophile’s right to have sex with a two-year-old.”