Due to the Rio Olympics’ influential social message, a skit was removed from the opening ceremony that was deemed to be racist.
The scene that was due to be part of the heavily anticipated opening ceremony featured Gisele Bündchen, the highest paid supermodel in the industry.
In the ceremonial show, which is supposed to chronicle Brazil’s history and geographical natural wonders, issues of urban life in Rio’s impoverished communities were aimed to be addressed. However, viewers believed that Gisele’s skit undermined the initial intentions.
The rehearsal, which was seen by hundreds on 3 August, contained the skit which supposedly showed the Brazilian model being robbed by a young black boy. The performance prompted viewers to believe this fraction of the ceremony reaffirmed racist stereotypes about violent young black men.
This year’s opening ceremony’s Creative Director Fernando Meirelles has since stated that the representation of the scene by the press was a “tremendous misunderstanding”.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Merielles stated that they tested out a scene in which a food vendor on a beach rushes up to take a selfie with Gisele. Security guards don’t like it and begin to chase him, but Gisele intervenes to protect him.
“It was a gag that was not funny so we cut it,” he said. “There was nothing that looked like a robbery in the scene except two security guards chasing after a vendor”.
Despite the removal of this scene, the official opening ceremony of this year’s Olympic games received mixed reviews.
Whilst some praised the show for its success in demonstrating the multiculturalism and beauty of Brazil on such a low budget, others deemed the commentary on climate change as “global warming propaganda”.