John Oliver discussed Brazil’s imminent presidential election on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, highlighting the alarming rise of its far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, who is nicknamed “Brazilian Donald Trump” for his militaristic, homophobic and misogynistic views. Bolsonaro ended the first round of voting with 46 percent of the tally, which means he will enter a runoff for the presidency against his rival, Fernando Haddad.
Oliver summarized that Bolsonaro, a former Congressman and military officer, has expressed interest in weakening environmental regulations, noted plans to relax gun laws and has referred to refugees arriving in the country as “the scum of the world.” “The nicest thing you can say for [Bolsonaro] is he has not been implicated in a corruption scandal – yet,” Oliver said. “Unfortunately, that’s literally the only nice I can find to say about him because he’s a terrible human being.” The comedian started with the Social Liberal Party candidate’s more innocuous annoyances (his love of the finger-gun salute) before moving to darker, more serious character traits.
The host used archival clips to showcase the politician’s controversial remarks. He once told a female member of Congress, “I would never rape you because you’re not worth it” and suggested in an interview that parents should “whip” their gay children.
One clip showed actress Ellen Page challenging the candidate on his homophobia in a 2017 episode of her Viceland series, Gaycation. When Page asks if she, a gay woman, should have been beaten as a child, Bolsonaro responds, “I’m not going to look at you and say, ‘I think you’re gay.’ That doesn’t matter to me. You’re very nice. If I were a cadet in the military academy and saw you on the street, I would whistle at you. Alright? You’re very pretty.”
“What are you doing?” Oliver said incredulously. “He just told her, ‘I wouldn’t beat you; I would catcall you’ and seemed to genuinely think that was a compliment. And look how confused that made Ellen Page. Do you know how hard it is to confuse Ellen Page? She was in Inception. That should be simply impossible.”
Bolsonaro’s popularity has created a backlash of the “Ele Não” (“Not Him”) movement. And Oliver endorsed that sentiment, urging voters to select literally anyone else in the two-person runoff vote on October 28th.
“Brazil, I realize that you are disgusted with your politics at the moment and you are not inspired by any of the alternatives at the moment,” he said. “But anything is better than Bolsonaro … [He] does not reflect the best of who you are, Brazil.”