08:40 GMT29 May 2020
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    Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s recently-elected president, has cancelled an upcoming trip to New York in which he was slated to receive an award at a gala dinner, after facing criticism from a wide range of cultural influencers including US lawmakers, gay rights activists and environmental advocates.

    Bolsonaro was expected to receive an award from the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce at its annual NYC gala. According to the organization's website, Bolsonaro was set to receive a "Person of the Year award" for "his intention of fostering closer commercial and diplomatic ties between Brazil and the United States."

    Several corporate sponsors, including Delta Air Lines and the Financial Times, withdrew support for the event. In addition, several venues, including the American Museum of Natural History, passed on hosting the May 14 event.

    "Jair Bolsonaro is a dangerous man," Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, tweeted April 16. "His overt racism, homophobia and destructive decisions will have a devastating impact on the future of our planet."

    ​According to Bolsonaro spokesperson Otavio Rego Barros, the newly-elected politician will not come to New York due to what Brasilia described as "resistance and deliberate attacks by the mayor of New York and the pressure of interest groups," multiple sources reported. 

    Bolsonaro, who became president in January, claims "homosexual fundamentalists" brainwash heterosexual children to "become gays and lesbians to satisfy them sexually in the future".

    In addition, last month, Bolsonaro was lambasted by the LGBT community for promoting fear among the nation's populace that Brazil must not become a "gay tourism paradise."

    "If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life. But we can't let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can't be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families," Bolsonaro told a Brasilia news conference last month.

    Left-wing Brazilian congressman and LGBT activist David Miranda noted that Bolsonaro is "a national disgrace" rather than "a head of state" in a recent interview with The Guardian.

    Bolsonaro has advocated displacing indigenous people from their Amazon rainforest homes so that the region can be mined and stripped to grow palm oil crops. The nationalist South American president also shuttered the Brazilian indigenous affairs agency FUNAI, giving the country's agriculture ministry control of how untouched tribal lands are used, Reuters reported.

    While Bolsonaro will now be a no-show at the party, it will nonetheless take place at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York's Times Square May 14. Protests are expected outside of the event location.


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