A popular Brazilian podcaster has been fired for saying on air that Brazil should have its own Nazi party.
Bruno Aiub, whose podcast is one of the most listened to in Brazil, apologised for his comments, saying he was “very drunk” when he made them.
Brazil’s attorney-general has opened an investigation into “the alleged offense of Nazi apologism”.
A lawmaker who appeared on the podcast is also under investigation.
Bruno Aiub, a 31-year-old who is better known as Monark, made the comments on Monday on his Flow Podcast show, which has 3.6m subscribers on YouTube.
As part of a discussion about freedom of expression with two members of Congress, Mr Aiub said that “in my opinion, the radical left has much more space than the radical right”.
“Both should be given space. I am crazier than all of you. I think that a Nazi should have a Nazi party, recognised by law,” he said. “If someone wants to be anti-Jewish, I think he has a right to be,” he added.
Congresswoman Tabata Amaral disagreed, arguing that freedom of expressions ends when it puts the life of others at risk.
“Nazism is against the Jewish population and that puts an entire population at risk,” Ms Amaral of the Brazilian Socialist Party said.
But Kim Kataguiri of the centrist Podemos party said that Germany had made a mistake by criminalising the Nazi party.
‘Not freedom of expression’
The attorney-general’s office said it would investigate both Mr Aiub’s and Mr Katiguiri’s remarks.
Mr Katiguiri said in a statement that his remarks had been “totally anti-Nazi” in nature and that he would co-operate with the investigation.
The podcast caused outrage in Brazil.
German Ambassador Heiko Thoms tweeted that “defending Nazism is not freedom of expression. Those who defend Nazism disrespects the memory of the victims and the survivors of that regime and ignores the horrors caused by it”.
The Brazilian Israelite Confederation – the central organisation representing the Jewish community in Brazil – said that “hate speech and the defense of hate speech have terrible consequences for humanity, and Nazism is the greatest historical proof of this”.
Estúdios Flow, which produces Mr Aiub’s show, said in a statement [in Portuguese] that it had removed the episode from all its platforms and apologised to the Jewish community.
According to anthropologist Adriana Dias, the number of neo-Nazi cells in Brazil rose from 75 to 530 between 2015 and 2021.
The number of investigations launched into alleged Nazi apologism has also shot up with federal police figures suggesting it rose by 900% between 2011 and 2020.