Over the weekend, we learned that when you attack someone’s freedom of expression, they’ll fight back even harder. Case in point: this Brazilian mayor being blocked from banning a Marvel comic book because of a same-sex kiss.
Marcelo Crivella, who is a former bishop and the current mayor of Rio de Janeiro, recently demanded that the comic book Avengers: The Children’s Crusade be withdrawn from a book fair because it featured content “unsuitable for children.”
The content Crivella is referring to is an illustration of two male characters, Wiccan and Hulkling, kissing in a loving embrace. In a tweet explaining his attempt to wrap copies of the graphic novel in black plastic and have it confiscated, Crivella wrote, “We need to protect our children. As a result, we have determined that Biennial organisers collect books with content that is unsuitable for minors.”
“It is not correct for them to have early access to subjects that do not agree with their ages.”
It’s safe to say, Crivella’s call to action didn’t go down well. According to the Guardian, the president of Brazil’s supreme court overruled a court decision that had endorsed his move and the country’s biggest newspaper, Folha de S.Paulo, published the illustration on its front page.
“It is an attack on freedom of expression,” said Mariana Zahar, the VP of the National Union of Book Publishers told the Guardian. “We will fight this to the end.”
Crivella’s move continued to backfire when YouTuber Felipe Neto bought 14,000 copies of LGBT-themed comic books and gave them out for free. The vlogger, who has 34 million followers, wrapped them in black plastic with the warning: “Book inappropriate for backward…and prejudiced people.”
The best part of this whole story is the fact that by the time Crivella asked for the comic book to be confiscated, it had already sold out.
This is the perfect example of the Streisand Effect: if you attempt to hide, remove or censor information, it’s only going to attract attention.
“Although we [are] going through the most frightening government in terms of repression since the dictatorship, this time we have a united and engaged people who will not permit that censorship, the imposition of others’ moral values,” Neto told The Guardian.