‘It’s a Black Thing’: Offensive Quip Becomes a Rallying Cry in Brazil

“Globo is viscerally opposed to racism in all of its forms,” the company said in a statement, adding that Mr. Waack had made comments that “everything indicates were of a racist nature.”

The video was leaked by a former video editor for Globo, who said he was appalled by the remarks at the time but was afraid he could lose his job if he released the video to the public.

The video editor, Diego Rocha Pereira, who no longer works for the network, said he had heard the comments as he sat in the network’s control room.

“I rewound the video to be sure, I couldn’t believe he would have said that,” he told the Jovem Pan radio station. “I was so disgusted, I recorded it on my cellphone.”

Mr. Waack has not publicly responded. In its statement, Globo said, “Waack affirms he doesn’t remember what he said, given that the audio is not clear, but he offers sincere apologies to those who feel they have been offended.”

On social media, the remark has been turned into a campaign, shining a light on the accomplishments of famous black Brazilians like the 19th-century novelist and poet Machado de Assis, as well as global leaders, including Nelson Mandela, and sports stars and artists.

Many people have written on Twitter about their own struggles in a country with a long history of slavery and racism. One person wrote: “#It’sABlackThing my mother, a black, single woman, raising 7 children without the help of a white man (my father).”

Brazil was the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, in 1888. Over three centuries, some four million Africans were brought here and forced to work in fields, mines and private homes.

Today, just over 50 percent of Brazilians identify as black or biracial, and many Brazilians say there is a racial harmony here that does not exist in the United States.

But others say the figures point to a different reality — Brazil is a country where the life expectancy of black men…

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