May 24, 2018
Latin America

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff condemns Netflix over corruption series

Brazilian ex-President Dilma Rousseff has criticised Netflix over its new series, The Mechanism, which is based on one of the largest corruption scandals to hit Brazil.

Ms Rousseff accused Netflix of "distorting reality" and spreading lies about her and her fellow ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The series premiered last week.

It comes just over six month before presidential elections in which Lula is currently the front runner.

'Inspired by true events'

The Mechanism has been created by José Padilha, the award-winning Brazilian director who also co-created Netflix's successful series Narcos.

The series is advertised by Netflix as being "loosely inspired by true events".

The events it portrays are those surrounding Operation Car Wash, the investigation into Brazil's massive corruption scandal which has seen dozens of high-ranking politicians and business tycoons go to jail.

Operation Car Wash began in March 2014 as an investigation into allegations that Brazil's biggest construction firms overcharged state-oil company Petrobras for building contracts.

Investigators accused Petrobras of skimming the extra money off the top as a bribe for awarding contracts.

The Workers' Party, which was in power from 2003 to 2016, was accused of having funnelled some of these funds to pay off politicians and buy their votes and help with political campaigns.

The scandal has tainted some of Brazil's most well-known politicians, not just of the Workers' Party but of their rivals as well.

President Michel Temer is among those being investigated as part of Operation Car Wash but has denied all allegations of corruption.

Last year, ex-President Lula was found guilty of receiving an apartment as a bribe and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The ex-leader has denied the charges and maintains they are part of a political witch hunt.

'Character assassination'

Despite the fact that he could be only days away from being sent to prison – a court is due to take a decision on the matter on 4 April – Lula is continuing to campaign for the presidential election in October.

Ms Rousseff argued on Monday that the Netflix series was using "the same character assassination techniques" as the Brazilian press had in her view been using to discredit her and Lula ahead of the election.

As an example of director José Padilha's "bad faith", she cited an infamous quote which in the series is uttered by the character based on Lula but in fact was said by Senator Romero Jucá, who was President Temer's right hand man at the time.

In an open letter, Ms Rousseff argues that "whoever wants to make fiction has all the right in the world to do so".

But she says that The Mechanism "is not based on real facts, but on real distortion as a new fake news story".

Netflix has not yet responded to Ms Rousseff's letter.

Original Article

BBC

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