Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday expressed horror over 1,000 penis amputations that he said occur each year in the country due to a lack of basic hygiene, a figure he called “ridiculous and sad.”
Speaking with reporters in Brasilia after visiting the Brazilian Ministry of Education, the former army captain despaired at the high number of amputations and said that his government must work with vulnerable men to make them more aware of the dangers of unhygienic behavior.
“In Brazil, we have 1,000 penis amputations a year due to a lack of water and soap,” Bolsonaro said. “We have to find a way to get out of the bottom of this hole.”
He did not specify the source of the number.
The Brazilian urology society was quoted as giving that number in an article in a local news magazine in 2017.
The society did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
In a video of Bolsonaro’s speech, it is clear that the amputations cause him great distress.
Bolsonaro has been celebrated by his supporters for being a man’s man, but he has also sparked outrage with years of racist and homophobic comments.
He once told a female lawmaker that she was too ugly to rape, and said that the birth of his daughter, after siring four sons, was a “moment of weakness.”
It is not the first time that he has waded into sensitive topics.
Last month, he made global headlines after tweeting a video showing one man urinating on another during Brazil’s massive annual street carnival.
“What is a golden shower?” Bolsonaro said on Twitter the day after posting the video, in which a barely dressed party-goer writhes atop a bus shelter, plays with his behind and then bends over before another man urinates on his head.
Critics have said that Bolsonaro’s often-incendiary tweets show he is more focused on riling his progressive critics than building consensus in the Brazilian National Congress for necessary reforms, such as an overhaul of the country’s budget-busting pension system.
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