Gracie, 52, was appointed to the position last month by Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro. His job of promoting the country’s tourism sector has faced difficulties in recent weeks after the news of the fires made global headlines. The ambassador referred to them as “false fires,” while responding to the most vocal critic of Brazil’s efforts in dealing with the fires, Emmanuel Macron, with insults and threats.
“The only fire going on is the fire inside Brazilian hearts and our president’s heart, you clown. Come over here you’ll be caught by the neck, that chicken neck. You don’t fool me,” Gracie told the camera on his twitter video.
Nomeado "embaixador do turismo", Renzo Gracie tem se reunido com empresários e autoridades do EUA pra atrair turistas ao Brasil. Em viagem a Miami, ele gravou esse vídeo no qual chama o pres da França de franga e diz que vai pegá-lo pelo gogó 👇 pic.twitter.com/LGE1WYJNnH— Adriano Wilkson (@adrianowilkson) August 31, 2019
In a later interview with Brazilian news outlet, UOL, Gracie called the critics a “gang of clowns” and also referred to Macron by adding, "Of course many will be astonished, they will think I called him a female chicken because his manhood is questionable, but no. I've met many gays more manly than this imbecile.”
He went on insulting French President's wife, telling the outlet “if you criticize our country, get ready to listen to a load of bulls***, and also about your relatives” and “The fact that [Macron] is sleeping with the dragon does not make him a fire expert. She’s ugly, my brother.”
The tourism ambassador’s inflammatory remarks come amid escalating bickering between the French and Brazilian governments following Macron’s condemnation of Brazil’s handling of the wildfires ravaging the Amazon rainforest. The French leader called the blazes an "international crisis" and insisted it should be on the agenda at the then-forthcoming G7 summit last month. Bolsonaro responded that the notion of prioritizing the matter was "reminiscent of [a] colonial mindset [that was] inappropriate in the 21st century.”
Critics and environmental activists continue to sound the alarm over the devastating fires in Brazil. Brazil’s National Space Research Institute documented almost 4000 flare-ups in just two days, immediately after the government announced a 60-day ban on controlled burning, The Independent reported. These numbers add up to more than 72,000 fires which were recorded across the Latin American country in the first eight months of the year, presenting an unprecedented threat to the forest, which is considered to be “the lungs of the world” as it contributes an estimated 20 percent of the planet’s oxygen.