Brazil judge opens investigation into presidential candidate after controversial vaccine comments

Brazil’s top court decided Wednesday to open an investigation into presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro after he advocated that parents refuse to vaccinate their children.

The move by the Federal Supreme Court comes after the right-wing politician released video of a long-ago radio interview in which he called for parents to keep children away from vaccines.

Bolsonaro, a candidate for Brazil’s highest office, has been the center of controversy over his scientific opinions. He has said he wants scientists to do “more research” before deciding on regulating genetically modified foods, even though scientists have long proven that genetically modified foods are safe.

Earlier this week, Bolsonaro was under fire for declaring on his website that scientists did not produce science, because “science is the action of the Father, mother and child,” drawing disbelief and criticism from scientists and doctors.

Brazil’s presidential election is one of the most anticipated in years, as voters are unhappy with Brazil’s economic woes and impeachment of leftist President Dilma Rousseff. Bolsonaro has called for a return to a form of military rule if elected.

Bolsonaro’s campaign has been shaken this week after five former employees of his Foundation for Scientific Research, based in Rio de Janeiro, accused him of sexual harassment, defamation and fraud in a lawsuit. Bolsonaro said the allegations have been “taken out of context” and was “planning to confront this slander.”

The education minister resigned from the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party over the allegations.

Two other people who worked for Bolsonaro’s foundation resigned in the wake of the allegations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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