São Paulo’s mayor, José Serra, ordered the removal of racy billboards of half-naked women plastered in at least 30 locations across South America’s largest city. The risqué ads were placed by “nightclubs” Romanza, Baco’s, Connection and Café Millenium, all famous for offering prostitutes.
The billboards were intended to lure tourists and Formula 1 teams who are in town for Brazil’s F-1 Grand Prix this Sunday, September 25. All people involved in the ads, including the ad agencies that created them, will be charged for crime against decency and the brothels have already been locked by the authorities. In some cases the entrance to the establishment was sealed with concrete blocks
One of the billboards shows a girl simulating oral sex on a race car pilot. The messages are bilingual (Portuguese and English) and say thinks like “Do you know what happens after the podium? Come to discover in the Romanza.” The copy reminds that clients will find “hot girls, models and actresses” and “emotion on every curve.”
Authorities used the Penal Code article 234 to forbid the billboards. That article classifies as crime against decency the distribution or presentation of any obscene object. Moreover, the ads violate the Child and Teenager’s Statute because they “expose publicly pornographic messages.”
Romanza, in the Itaim Bibi neighborhood, and Milennium, in Ipiranga, have been closed based on the same 234 article of the Penal Code. Both were also fined 1,084 reais (US$ 477). Bension Coslovsky, the lawyer for the Romanza nightclub said that he would get an injunction to promptly reopen the establishment.
In Brazil, prostitution is not illegal, but pimping is. That’s why brothels take many fronts like sauna houses, massage parlors, escort companies, night clubs and relaxation clubs.
“It was appalling. Not even men magazines do something in such bad taste. This is an abuse against the child’s statute,” said Walter Feldman, the coordinator of São Paulo’s neighborhood administrations.
Brazil is famous among Formula 1 mechanics and pilots for being a place of partying and pretty and easy women. Nightclubs use the Grand Prix occasion to draw more customers in a week in which the city receives lots of tourists, most of them men.
This is a good time for taxi drivers too. Some “night clubs” offer taxi drivers up to 40 reais (US$ 18) for every tourist they bring this weekend.
José Serra, the mayor of São Paulo, was a presidential candidate in 2002, when he lost to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Polls show him running strong for next year’s presidential elections.