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Brazilian judge orders arrest of local Google president over negative election videos on YouTube

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Brazil Attack Ad
Brazil Attack Ad

A Brazilian judge has ordered the arrest of Google's president of operations in Brazil over a pair of YouTube videos that the court says slander mayoral candidate Alcides Bernal. According to the Associated Press, Judge Flavio Peren ordered Google to remove the offending videos last week, but Google refused, leading Peren to issue a warrant for the arrest of local president Fabio Jose Silva Coelho and order YouTube and other Google services blocked for 24 hours. Google is reportedly appealing the decision, saying that it's not responsible for content posted on its site. Police, meanwhile, say they haven't yet received orders to arrest Coelho.

The controversy over these ads echoes that over the trailer for Innocence of Muslims, an anti-Islam piece that has sparked protests worldwide. If popular outcry exists in this case, it's much more muted, and the video below has gotten only about 8,000 views since late August. Still, the videos — which allege that Bernal instigated abortions among other charges — have pitted Google's relatively liberal policy guidelines against local laws. Local outlet Midiamax reports that Google reviewed the videos and found that they did not constitute negative electioneering or warrant taking down; it apparently petitioned the judge's order for removal last week. We've reached out to Google for comment, and we're likely to see more developments in the next few days.