Brazil’s Supreme Court has ordered an investigation of President Jair Bolsonaro after the friend and admirer of Donald Trump imitated his US idol by airing another refuted theory about the purported dangers of COVID vaccines.
This time it was his claim that the vaccines raise the chance of contracting AIDS.
The probe, authorised by Justice Alexandre de Moraes, came in response to a request by a Senate panel that accused Bolsonaro of committing “crimes against humanity” for his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Brazil has been one of the world’s hardest hit nations, with some 615,400 deaths so far and more than 22 million cases.
The far-right president, made the controversial remarks on October 21 during a weekly live broadcast on social media channels.
Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have removed the comments for spreading misinformation.
In earlier outbursts, Bolsonaro ridiculed his own mask-wearing staffers as embarrassments, saying he suspected they were gay.
Demands that president be gagged
Bolsonaro has himself been infected with COVID and was hospitalised after earlier rejecting the offer of vaccines. Instead, he insisted on a three-day course of Donald Trump’s touted “cure”, hydroxychloroquine, which has been rejected by medical authorities around the world as of being of no use whatsoever.
Somehow, Bolsonaro recovered anyway.
To justify his anti-immunisation stance, Bolsonaro cited British government reports he claimed to have seen that suggested some people vaccinated against COVID-19 were subsequently diagnosed with AIDS.
The reports “suggest that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are developing Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome much faster than expected after the second dose,” Bolsonaro alleged.
“I recommend you read the article. I am not going to read it here because I do not want to lose my Facebook live video,” he said, without specifying where he obtained the information.
Bolsonaro’s statements led the Senate committee to request the president be suspended from all social networks to prevent him from spreading potentially lethal falsehoods.
Justice Moraes stressed the need to probe a possible relationship between Bolsonaro’s fake information and an alleged criminal organisation already under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court for anti-democracy chicaneries and attacks.
Bolsonaro’s statements led the Senate committee to request the president be suspended from social networks to prevent him from spreading falsehoods.