Natural History museum drops gala for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
April 16 (UPI) — New York City’s American Museum of Natural History has canceled plans to host a black-tie gala for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro after Mayor Bill de Blasio called him a “very dangerous human being.”
Bolsonaro, who was elected last year, has been criticized for his policies toward the Amazon rain forest, climate change and Brazil’s indigenous people. Leading the charge to cancel the event was de Blasio, who said, “Bolsonaro’s “overt racism and homophobia” run counter to the museum’s mission.
The event was scheduled for May 14 in the Hall of Ocean Life, a popular spot for formal events. It was rented by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization that promotes business and cultural ties between the two countries. Bolsonaro was to receive the Person of the Year award with roughly 1,000 people in attendance.
After backlash from the United States and Brazil, the museum tweeted it’s “not the optimal location for the Brazilian-Am. Chamber of Commerce gala dinner.”
“This traditional event will go forward at another location on the original date and time,” it said.
The museum previously said it was “deeply concerned about the stated policy of the current Brazilian administration.”
The decision to scrap the event made headlines in Brazil with one proclaiming in Portuguese Bolsonaro had been “banned” from the museum, one of the world’s largest natural history museums that’s celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
Bolsonaro’s critics celebrated the move.