World Cup Event Called Racist for Having a White Brazilian Model Host

PHOTO: Host Fernanda Lima and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speak to the audience before the Final Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil at Costa do Sauipe Resort on December 6, 2013 in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, Brazil.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Only 32 nations make it to the World Cup. For 2014, teams from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas will be representing their nations in Brazil.

But during last week’s World Cup Draw, an official televised ceremony where teams are grouped into fours by a random drawing, some felt the host did not represent her country.

FIFA is now being sued by a Brazilian state prosecutor, Christiano Jorge Santos, who claims that contracting Brazilian actress and model Fernanda Lima as the World Cup’s muse instead of a black or brown celebrity, was racist. Despite that, FIFA invited Lima to host again at the Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) Award.

Santos told Reuters that the event’s planning company, GEO Eventos and the national TV network Globo, recommended hiring a Brazilian actor-couple Lazaro Ramos, who is black, and Camila Pitanga, who is mixed-race.

But Pitanga said in an interview with a Brazilian newspaper that she did not receive a formal invitation to host. And FIFA stated that it had never “vetoed” suggestions from GEO Eventos and TV Globo, but instead depended on the organizations to provide the host or hosts.

In the Reuters interview, Santos also added that the host should have been representative of Brazil’s racial makeup. He said nearly half of the Brazilian population identify with being Afro-Brazilian. In fact, the 2010 Brazil Census found that the majority of the population declared themselves as black or brown.

The majority of the Afro-Brazilian population live in the northeast of the country in states like Bahia, from where the World Cup Draw just so happened to be broadcasted.

Over 250 million viewers tuned in on Friday, December 6, to see the 36-year-old Lima along side FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke, announce the groupings.

And apparently, audiences loved her in Brazil and abroad. Newspapers such as Argentina’s Clarin and the U.K.’s Daily Mail praised her emceeing skills and gorgeous appearance.

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