Madonna faces social media backlash over Rio police photo

Madonna poses with military police wielding guns in a Rio de Janeiro slum.Image copyright Madonna
Image caption Madonna posted the photo on social media before it was reposted by the official Rio military police Twitter

Madonna has caused a social media controversy in Brazil by posting a photo of herself dressed in army camouflage fatigues with military police in Rio de Janeiro.

The photograph was shared on Wednesday, two days after Rio military police shot dead a Spanish tourist leaving the Rocinha favela on Monday.

Rocinha has been the site of frequent shoot-outs in recent weeks between rival drug gangs.

Madonna was spending a few days in Rio after attending her manager’s wedding, which she also Tweeted about.

‘Madonna has no idea’

Madonna’s Instagram post of the photo attracted comments from many in Brazil who were unhappy.

Among the replies, one said Madonna needed to “explain” the picture, another called the picture “inappropriate,” and a third said the photo showed “disrespect” to Brazilians.

Soon after the image was uploaded to social media, it was posted by the official military police account of Rio de Janeiro:

In response, one person asked if the photo meant Madonna was receiving a “police escort” in the favela, while another wondered if a Brazilian celebrity visiting the United States would have been “protected” by the police.

Marco Gomes, a Brazilian technologist, simply tweeted “Madonna does not have a clue“.

Meanwhile, @brunoomasc asked why there was interest at all as Madonna “decided by herself to go” to the favela.

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Media captionMadonna wears a camouflage dress to the Met Gala to promote “peace on Earth”.

The response was not all negative. Marimelo029 commented on the Instagram post they “loved” the photo, and ios_samara called for people to “thank” Madonna for visiting the beleaguered favela, drawing parallels with the pop star’s charity work.

Madonna has a history of supporting good causes, particularly in Malawi, from where she has adopted four children.

This includes opening a centre to feed and educate 32,000 orphans, followed by her Raising Malawi charity opening a children’s hospital in July this year, named for her daughter, Mercy James.

By Tom Gerken, UGC & Social News, and Ricardo Acampora, BBC Brazil

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