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Rio Carnival guru fired after condom-themed parade

Joaosinho Trinta stands in front of his Kama Sutra-themed float, much of which was covered during the parade, in a picture taken last week.
Joaosinho Trinta stands in front of his Kama Sutra-themed float, much of which was covered during the parade, in a picture taken last week.

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) -- A Rio de Janeiro samba school on Wednesday sacked its Carnival artistic director whose pro-condom parade had upset the Catholic church and whose Kama Sutra float had been censored as too steamy even for Rio's annual Bacchanalia.

Academicos do Grande Rio school fired Joaosinho Trinta -- a popular but controversial Carnival figure -- just before the winner of this year's world-famous Carnival was named in an event that formally closed five days of pre-Lenten jamborees.

Beija Flor (Humming Bird) won the crown among 14 top league samba schools for the second year running, while the judges, who evaluate the schools' sambas, costumes, creativity and all-round enthusiasm, gave Grande Rio a lowly 10th place.

"The conflict that Joaosinho Trinta developed with the church has affected the community. We are a Catholic country and he really exaggerated on sex," a Grande Rio spokesman said. Brazil is the world's biggest Roman Catholic country.

Trinta, 70, brought the theme "Let's Put On a Condom, My Love" to the Sambadrome parade avenue, center of the globally televised party. The Vatican is strictly opposed to the use of contraceptives.

Following a legal complaint by Rio's archbishop, a float with giant figures of Adam and Eve involved in a sexual act had to be partially covered with a cloth, while a float with Styrofoam statues depicting Kama Sutra sexual positions was wrapped in black plastic.

Although few things are banned in Rio's Carnival and practically nude dancers shake their hips in provocative samba moves galore, the use of religious images is prohibited in the festival considered "pagan" by the church.

Contacted by Reuters before Carnival, Trinta said the church's stance on condoms was "very hypocritical, medieval and very wrong," and added that the ancient Indian sex guide of Kama Sutra was science and not pornography.

Although Carnival ended officially on Ash Wednesday, at least one boisterous street procession will parade on Thursday in the city center, and six winning samba schools will deliver another magical show at the Sambadrome on Saturday night.



Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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