Brazilian television aired its first gay kiss on Friday, when two characters locked lips on the soap “Amor à Vida,” (“Love and Life”), which airs on Rede Globo, the country’s largest network. In the scene, closeted villain Felix (Matthew Solano) threw down with Niko (Thiago Fragoso) after Felix’s father suffered a stroke.
Check out the clip from the episode below.
While it’s not unusual for Brazilian TV to feature gay characters, two men kissing on screen was deemed so controversial that in 2005, a gay kiss was cut from the final episode of “América,” another soap opera.
This time around, social media was a big part of making the plot development involving Felix and Niko’s on-screen kiss a reality on Friday, January 31. As the relationship between the two men began to grow, so did the campaign on social media urging them to do it, using hashtags like “kiss him, Felix” (#beijafelix) and “gay kiss” (#beijogay). Both had several thousand tweets leading up to the kiss.
In addition, prominent personalities supported the campaign for the gay kiss—including Brazil’s first openly gay MP, Jean Wyllys, who helped start the hashtags on Twitter.
“People gathered in front of the television in angst, and celebrated the kiss as if it was the World Cup,” Wyllys told press. It’s unclear whether the campaigning actually influenced the plot. The script writer, Walcyr Carrasco, who is bisexual, told press that the kiss was always planned, although some reports speculate that two alternative endings were filmed (one which involved no kiss, and the other just a peck on the cheek).
The BBC Brazil Facebook page has garnered over 3,200 comments on the story as of February 3. Many of them welcomed the kiss, although some viewers claimed that the TV show would encourage children to be gay, or that being gay was against their religion.