A woman in Brazil is going viral after violently pushing an anti-gay priest off the stage in front of his Catholic congregation in Cachoeira Paulista, São Paulo.
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Around 3 pm on Sunday, 14 July, a woman made it past security and pushed Father Marcelo Rossi off stage, mid-mass, at the headquarters of Canção Nova.
Footage of the incident shows Rossi toppling off the stage in front of shocked congregants. The woman appears to be smiling at his fall.
At the time of the incident, Rossi was delivering a closing address to a youth camp with an estimated 50,000 attendees. Rossi was not seriously injured. He was able to return to the stage to finish the sermon, which was being live streamed.
The unidentified woman was taken into custody by police.
Watch a video of the incident below:
Brazilian news outlet G1 reports that the 32-year-old woman traveled from Rio de Janeiro to attend this youth event with her three-year-old son. Police note that she is believed to have mental health problems, including bipolar disorder. Rossi declined to press charges.
An official told Brazilian media:
‘She said that she wanted to come in to talk to him. And that she was scared the moment she saw the security guards running after her. It’s her version, but anyone who sees the pictures sees that there is none of it [security guards running after her]. She says she got scared and pushed him at a time when she kind of freaked out, lost control, but she had no intention [of hurting him], she just wanted to talk to him.’
LGBTI site Queerty notes that Rossi has made numerous anti-LGBTI statements throughout his career. In November 1998, he said, ‘A lot of ideas will change the day homosexuality is proven to be an illness’. In 2014, he stated that ‘Sex between man causes pain, if something causes pain, it can’t be a good thing’. He also opposed same-sex marriage because ‘The word of God is clear that man and woman were created to unite and bear fruit’.
Additionally, Rossi is a successful author and Christian musician with almost 11 million sales in Latin America. He also hosts a radio show with roughly three million listeners nationwide.