Brazil’s special secretary of culture, Roberto Alvim, was fired Friday after a reported backlash over a video speech he gave in which he appeared to paraphrase Nazi Germany’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.
Alvim was originally appointed to the post by nationalist Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
“It is an unfortunate pronouncement, even with his apologies, making his tenure unsustainable,” Bolsonaro tweeted.
“I reiterate our condemnation of totalitarian ideologies and genocides, like Nazism and Communism, as well as any type of allusion to them.”
In his video speech, Alvim said, “Culture cannot ignore the mighty intellectual and political upheavals we are experiencing,” The Washington Post reports.
“The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and national,” Alvim said. “It will be endowed with great capacity for emotional involvement, and it will also be imperative, since it will be profoundly connected to the urgent aspirations of our people — or it will be nothing.”
People were quick to point out that Goebbels had also stressed “film cannot be immune to these mighty intellectual and political upheavals.”
Additionally, in a May 1933 speech, Goebbels said, “German art of the next decade will be heroic; it will be like steel; it will be romantic, non-sentimental, factual; it will be national with great pathos and at once obligatory and binding — or it will be nothing.”
Alvim attempted to defend himself in a Facebook post, calling the criticism “a fallacy” and claiming that there was “one rhetorical coincidence in ONE phrase about nationalism in art.”
However, on Friday multiple Brazilian lawmakers, across multiple political parties, called for his removal.
“The secretary of culture went beyond all limits,” Rodrigo Maia, president of Brazil’s Congress, said. “The Brazilian government must urgently relieve him of his responsibilities.”