Cariocas (Rio natives) like nothing better than a fizzy tabloid fight. Leo Dias, author of Yahoo! Brasil’s Pronto, Falei! gossip blog, unravels the “scandals” currently lighting up the presses.
Preta Gil, the daughter of world-famous singer Gilberto Gil, recently got into a nasty on-air squabble with a right-wing federal deputy, Jair Bolsonaro. She asked him what he would do if his son fell in love with a black woman. His response: “I don’t run that risk, because my children were brought up well.” (Earlier in the show, Bolsonaro waxed nostalgic for the days of the Brazilian military dictatorship.) Gil, also a singer, who was raised in and around Posto 9—an anything-goes section of Ipanema Beach—became an instant hero to Rio’s progressives and is suing Bolsonaro for racist speech, a crime in Brazil.
The latest in a long line of Rio de Janeiro mayors who will do anything to attract media attention, Paes loves to be seen around the city’s “samba schools”—mostly located in favelas—in the run-up to the annual carnival competition. (The goal is to make himself seem a man of the people, though an elite politician’s literally slumming it often comes across as false.) Most recently, Paes was photographed with his hands on the thighs of a funk dancer from the Salgueiro school. The impropriety wasn’t just that he was getting very cozy with another woman (though he is a married father of two), it is that Paes claims to be a fan of a rival school, Portela, and is a frequent attendee at their parties, too.
Bruno Mazzeo, humorist, TV star, and paparazzi target, recently exchanged sharp remarks with a freelance photographer—not to mention flashing him the middle finger as he emerged from a Rio restaurant—setting off a war between his celebrity supporters and the press. He’s a regular in Baixo Gávea, an area of bars and restaurants where well-off young Cariocas hang out, and has become a favorite among Rio’s women.