Brazilian Soccer Fans Face Backlash for Offensive Tweets
May 13, 2011 By Mari Hayman
The Order of Brazilian Lawyers (OAB) has filed a racial discrimination complaint against a pair of Brazilian soccer fans for posting derogatory messages on Twitter after Flamengo was eliminated from the Brazil Cup by northeastern team Ceará on Wednesday night.
The comments ridiculing Brazilians from the northeast angered Brazilians across the country and attracted the attention of the OAB in the northeastern state of Ceará, which on Thursday asked the Federal Public Ministry to investigate the Twitter users for discrimination and injury.
Shortly after Ceará eliminated the popular Rio de Janeiro-based Flamengo in Wednesday’s Brazil Cup quarterfinal, at least two Flamengo fans tweeted separate diatribes against Northeasterners, known in as “nordestinos” in Portuguese.
“Those dark-skinned, savage, Indian Northeasterners think that they’re so great, a bunch of ugly people. It’s not for nothing that I don’t like that race,” wrote a Twitter user who identified herself as Amanda Régis.
“I only came on Twitter to say how much Northeasterners are the disgrace of Brazil,” a Twitter user identified as Lucian Farah wrote, alongside a string of other unprintable epithets.
Northeastern Brazil is one of the poorest regions in Brazil and is home to many Afro-Brazilians.
“The Federal Constitution treats everyone as an equal, without distinctions of any nature. We cannot permit a person with a certain degree of knowledge to use the Internet to disseminate racism,” said Valdetário Andrade Monteiro, President of the OAB in Ceará. In Brazil, racism is a crime subject to fines and prison time.
Wednesday’s tweets unleashed a flood of criticism on Twitter as commenters accused both Régis and Farah of xenophobia and racism. According to the Folha do São Paulo, the tweets were among the top ten most commented topics on Twitter in Brazil on Thursday morning, and made the list of worldwide “trending topics”.
The two Flamengo fans eventually erased their tweets and issued qualified apologies.
“My god, people. I acted on impulse for Flamengo, I don’t have anything against Northeasterners. Sorry, everybody, I never should have done that,” Régis tweeted.
Régis and Farah have since deleted their Twitter accounts.
Photo: thais m. @Flickr.