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Glenn Greenwald Slapped In The Face By Pro-Bolsonaro Columnist On Livestream

The Brazilian Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Commission (CCJ) holds a public hearing on facts revealed by The Intercept Brasil with the participation of The Intercept's founder Glenn Greenwald.
The Brazilian Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Commission (CCJ) holds a public hearing on facts revealed by The Intercept Brasil with the participation of The Intercept's founder Glenn Greenwald. (Photo" Edilson Rodrigues/Agência Senado)

Recent damning reports by the Intercept Brasil and journalist Glenn Greenwald exposing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his administration culminated in personal attacks on Greenwald’s family and a slap in the face.

Rio-based American journalist Glenn Greenwald was slapped in the face by pro-Bolsonaro columnist Augusto Neves on a live Brazilian radio broadcast on Thursday, a reflection of the severe political polarization dividing the world’s fifth-largest country.

Greenwald co-founded the Intercept news outlet after winning a Pulitzer Prize for leading the Guardian’s reporting on Edward Snowden’s government surveillance revelations in 2013. He later opened a Brazil-focused branch of the outlet, the Intercept Brasil, where he lives with his husband, a leftwing Brazilian politician.

Reporting by The Intercept Brasil Angers Bolsonaro Supporters

A series of explosive stories by the Intercept Brasil have undermined President Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government and earned Greenwald the ire of the president’s supporters, including columnist Augusto Neves.

Last year, Greenwald and his husband David Miranda adopted two children from an orphanage in one of the most impoverished regions of Brazil. Several weeks ago, Augusto Nunes ramped up his criticisms of Greenwald’s reporting by suggesting the American journalist’s family should be investigated.

“I was thinking about this couple,” Nunes said of Greenwald and his husband. “Glenn Greenwald spends the day having hissy fits on Twitter or working as the recipient of stolen messages. David is always in Brasilia. … Who takes care of the children that they have adopted? This should be investigated by the juvenile court.”

Greenwald was infuriated by the comment, noting that millions of Brazilian families have two working parents, yet Nunes singled out only Greenwald’s family. The American journalist views Neves’ statement as a homophobic smear meant to exploit the stigma against adoption by same-sex parents. Greenwald and Miranda have already faced numerous death threats and homophobic slurs for their work.

Greenwald was told that Nunes would appear on the conservative “Jovem Pan News” on Thursday and decided to confront the right-wing journalist on live radio.

On the show, Greenwald told Nunes his comments were “the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in my life.”

“I want to know if you believe if a minors judge should investigate our families with the possibility of the kids returning to the shelter without moms and dads and no family whatsoever.” Greenwald said. “Do you believe in that?”

Nunes turned away and dismissed his earlier comments as “irony, a good-humored attack,” to which Greenwald responded by calling him a coward.

“Coward!” Greenwald repeatedly called him. He leaned in closer and pointed a finger. “You are a coward!”

Nunes then tried to take a swing at Greenwald, but the American intercepted the blow.

The men stood before Nunes slapped Greenwald in the face, when others moved to break the two journalists apart.

After the confrontation, supporters of both figures rallied to their respective sides. Neves said if given the chance he would repeat his action, while Greenwald spoke of how Neves’ actions reflect the violent nature of his political movement.

Greenwald Accuses Brazil of Fascist Slide

“I think what’s most important is that the Bolsonaro movement, including the president’s son, and his mentor, and many members of congress and his party are applauding this violence,” Greenwald said in a statement about the attack. “Because it’s a fascist movement, they want a civil war, they want violence in our political discourse. And that is what makes them so dangerous.”

“Though I often disagree with his comments and independent of the facts cited, I stand in solidarity with this man @agostonunes,” wrote Carlos Bolsonaro, son of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Eduardo Bolsonaro, another of the president’s sons, caused uproar last week after suggesting the return of dictatorship-era repression on leftist opposition. The president himself has frequently praised the military dictatorship:

“Elections won’t change anything in this country,” Bolsonaro said in 1999. “It will only change on the day that we break out in civil war here and do the job that the military regime didn’t do: killing 30,000. If some innocent people die, that’s fine. In every war, innocent people die.”

Greenwald is also a polarizing figure in American politics. Detractors on the left criticize his appearances on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show, where he has been fiercely critical of the mainstream media’s disproportional focus on the Mueller investigation. Supporters appreciate his willingness to meet and debate figures on the opposite end of the political spectrum.

“Glenn believes in free speech & debate and his detractors believe in violence,” tweeted Secular Talk host Kyle Kulinski. “Guess who has the more powerful ideas.”

Peter Castagno

Peter Castagno is a co-owner Citizen Truth.

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