Madonna’s Rio Concert: The Hypocrisy of Bolsonaro’s Fans

Last Updated: June 18, 2024By

Madonna’s Rio Concert: A Right-Wing Dilemma

For fans of Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, Madonna’s huge concert in Rio seemed like the perfect chance to criticize what they see as the immoral left. The Queen of Pop held the biggest show of her 40-year career on Copacabana beach on Saturday. However, not everyone was thrilled. One far-right congressman labeled Madonna a “satanist,” while another condemned the “immoral acts” on stage, calling the performance “an affront to Brazilian laws.”

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A Twist of Irony

Here’s where it gets interesting. Despite the backlash, several high-profile Bolsonaristas were among the 1.6 million people at the concert. Reports in the Brazilian press revealed that Jair Bolsonaro’s lawyer and former communications secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, Rio’s Bolsonarista governor, Cláudio Castro, and Bolsonarista senator Jorge Seif, were all there to witness Madonna’s grand finale of her Celebration tour.

Dancing to the Beat

Wajngarten was even caught on camera pumping his fists as Madonna sang her 2005 hit, “Hung Up.” Though his awkward dance moves didn’t win over Brazilian dance enthusiasts, his presence at the show certainly raised eyebrows. Castro was also seen at the concert with Wajngarten, a pro-Bolsonaro politician named Renato Araújo, and the makeup artist for Jair Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle.

Senator Seif faced the most backlash, even having to publicly apologize for his Saturday night outing. At the same time, his home region in southern Brazil was dealing with a severe climate disaster. “I’ve let my voters down,” Seif admitted to the senate, asking for forgiveness for attending what he described as an unsuitable event for “defenders of the family and Judaeo-Christian values.”

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A Marital Excuse

In a leaked WhatsApp message, Seif blamed his wife for making him go to the concert, claiming their marriage was in a rough patch. Meanwhile, Castro and Araújo reportedly said they left before the more provocative moments, such as when two muscular dancers simulated an intimate act with Madonna and Brazilian pop star Anitta.

Drag Queens and National Flags

One of the most controversial parts of the show was when Madonna performed with Brazilian drag queen and singer Pabllo Vittar. Together, they sang “Music” while waving Brazil’s yellow and green flag. This was a double whammy for Bolsonaro supporters, who were already unhappy with the LGBTQ+ community and Madonna’s bold performance.

A Right-Wing Hypocrisy?

Brazilian leftists didn’t miss the chance to point out the apparent hypocrisy. “Bolsonaristas spent the weekend calling the show Sodom and Gomorrah … but in fact they were there,” one critic tweeted. Ricardo Rangel, a columnist for the conservative magazine Veja, said the concert was like a “slap in Jair Bolsonaro’s face.”

“Bolsonarismo wants women at home, quiet and obedient, taking care of the kids. They hate empowered women and feminists,” Rangel wrote. “Madonna represents everything Bolsonarismo despises.”

Madonna’s Rio Concert: The Hypocrisy of Bolsonaro’s Fans

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