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Viral video shows homophobic assault in Brazil, not a white farmer attacked by EFF ‘savages’ in South Africa

IN SHORT: A video of a violent attack has spread widely on social media, with the claim it shows a white farmer beaten up by black South Africans. But this is not true.

Warning: This report links to a graphic and upsetting video.

A shocking video of two men whipping and clubbing a third man – bruised and bloody, crouched in the dirt and naked except for his underwear – is circulating online with the claim it was filmed in South Africa.

A common caption reads: “South Africa - More disturbing footage from the racist pro Hamas country as we see a white farmer being viciously assaulted with weapons by savages linked to Julius Malema’s EFF.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters, or EFF, is a political party led by Julius Malema. South Africa is set to hold elections in 2024. The claim first appeared on social media in early January.

Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, a part of Palestine mostly bordered by Israel in the Middle East. Israel has raged war against the territory since Hamas’s deadly 7 October 2023 attack on Israel. By 5 February 2024, a reported 27,478 Palestinians in Gaza had been killed. 

In late December 2023, South Africa took to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands to bring a charge of genocide against Israel for its conduct of the war inside Gaza. This has led to counter-accusations on social media that there is an ongoing “genocide” of white people in South Africa.

The myth of white genocide in South Africa has been repeatedly debunked over many years.

The video’s other captions include:

  • This year general elections will be held in South Africa and the fate of 4.8 million of white citizens will be sealed. Let’s hope they choose wisely.
  • This is what they are doing to White Farmers in South Africa.
  • A Boer farmer in South Africa is being attacked by black South Africans. White farmers face daily attacks, but the media doesn't cover it. #SouthAfrica #Apartheid #Genocide
  • A South African Boer farmer being beaten by black South Africans. The white farmers are being targeted daily with no media coverage.

The claim can also be seen here, here and here. But what does this video actually show?


Suspect charged with Brazil’s crime of homophobia in 2020

Africa Check googled phrases from the video’s captions, such as “boer farmer attacked by black South Africans”, with the results limited to January 2024.

If the video did show an assault on a white farmer in South Africa it would have made front page news. But we found no credible reports of this.

However, our online search led us to comments on a tweet from the X account @Migrants5O73250. The account, recently suspended for violating the X Rules, appears to have repeated the claim.

One comment reads: “And that white farmer (who is actually a professor) was beaten by South Africans in Brazil where he lives? Cause his aggressor was sentenced in Brazil and it happened in Brazil. Almost as if you were lying.”

The comment links to a Brazilian news article dated 18 February 2020. A machine translation of its Portuguese headline reads: “After being recorded performing oral sex in a public square, a teacher is brutally beaten in Serra Branca.”

Serra Branca is a city in Paraíba, a northeastern state in the South American country of Brazil.

Photos in the article show the victim soon after he was rescued by police. His appearance, bruising and wounds all indicate he is the man assaulted in the viral video.

He was also interviewed from his hospital bed in a news segment uploaded on YouTube, which clearly shows it’s the same man.

The victim said four people were involved in the attack. One suspect was arrested and charged with the crimes of torture, bodily harm and homophobia.

Homophobia – specifically violence against LGBTQI people because of their sexual orientation – has been a crime in Brazil since 2019. LGBTQI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex.

The attack was widely reported in the Brazilian media at the time, as seen here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

All available evidence points to the attack being in Brazil in 2020, not in South Africa in 2024.

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