A controversial skit featuring Gisele Bündchen apparently being robbed by a black kid from the slums has been dropped from the Olympics opening ceremony.
Thousands of people were invited to the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony that will kick off the 2016 summer Olympic Games over the weekend at the Maracanã Stadium. Reports leaked soon after that the Brazilian supermodel got accosted by a boy in “plain clothes” which was followed by a police chase.
Filmmaker Fernando Meirelles, who is the creative director for opening ceremony, told the Washington Post that the media and the viewers in attendance misinterpreted that part of the show, saying it was a “tremendous misunderstanding.”
“Imagine us doing a scene like that in the opening,” he wrote in an email to the newspaper. “I’m not that clueless.”
Meirelles, who directed the films “City of God” and “The Constant Gardner,” said the scene actually portrays a food vendor at the beach approaching the supermodel to take a selfie with her. Security guards nearby don’t like it and give chase before Bündchen intervenes. She walks onstage to the song, "The Girl From Ipanema."
Because of the controversy, the skit has been cut.
“It was a gag that was not funny, so we cut it,” Meirelles said. "There was nothing that looked like a robbery in the scene except two security guards chasing after a vendor. They are three professional clowns."
According to Folha de S. Paulo, the rehearsal last five hours. The show will trace Brazilian history, including depictions of pre-colonial times and the arrival of the Portuguese.
However, the controversial scene with Bündchen could have left a bitter taste for viewers.
It would be a “reaffirmation of racist stereotypes” about violent young black men, Fernando Alvares Salis, head of the communications department at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro who was invited to see the rehearsal, told the Post.
In an interview with the Rio 2016 Olympics website, Meirelles said he hopes the opening ceremony will be a “drug for depression in Brazil.”
“Brazilians can look at it and say we are a cool people, we are different ethnic groups, we live together, we never went to war, we are peaceful, we know how to enjoy life and we tend to be happy,” he said. “I am prepared for the haters.”