Brazilian polemicist, self-promoted philosopher, political pundit, former astrologer, journalist and far-right conspiracy theorist, Olavo Luiz Pimentel de Carvalho, had died at the age of 74.
“With great sorrow, the family of Professor Olavo de Carvalho reports the news of his death on the night of January 24, in the Richmond region, Virginia, where he was hospitalised,” a post on his official Facebook said.
Born on 29 April 1947, the controversial figure had been living in Richmond, Virginia since since 2005.
“The professor leaves his wife, Roxane, eight children and 18 grandchildren.
While publishing about politics, literature and philosophy since the 1980s, he made himself known to wider Brazilian audiences from the 1990s on, mainly writing columns for some of Brazil’s major media outlets, such as the newspaper O Globo.
In the 2000s, he began to use personal blogs and social media to convey his conservative and anti-communist ideas but rose to prominence in the late 2010s in the Brazilian public debate.
Carvalho was dubbed the “intellectual father of the new right” and the ideologue of Far-Right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, something he rejected.
His books and articles spread conspiracy theories and false information, and he had been accused of fomenting hate speech and anti-intellectualism.
The anti-communist ideologue positioned himself as a critic of modernity and his interests included historical philosophy, the history of revolutionary movements, the Traditionalist School and comparative religion.
Despite proclaiming to be a philosopher, his views were generally rejected by philosophers.
Carvalho contested ideas of physicists Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, and mathematician Georg Cantor.
He claimed that Newton introduced a self-contradictory thesis and spread the virus of “formidable stupidity”.
Carvalho also said Einstein’s theory of general relativity was plagiarised and also criticised Georg Cantor’s work on transfinite numbers of confusing “numbers with their mere signs”, seeing his work as a “play with words” and a “false logic”.
He also said that there are no proofs of heliocentrism and that geocentrism was as valid as heliocentrism “since you can use different points of reference.”
In 2018, on Facebook, he stated that he had no “definitive answer” to many “questions”, such as whether the Earth is spherical or flat.
Carvalho also spread the hoax of Pepsi using cells from aborted fetuses to sweeten soft drinks, which has been debunked for many years.
In a 2016 Twitter post, Carvalho stated, citing Dr. Carlos Armando de Moura Ribeiro, that “vaccines either kill you or drive you crazy. Never vaccinate your children.”
He has also falsely declared that AIDS does not pose a risk to heterosexuals, basing his arguments on journalist Michael Fumento’s book The Myth of Heterosexual Aids.
On March 22, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he stated during a livestream in YouTube that there was no confirmed case of death from the virus in the world and that the pandemic would be “an invention” and “the most extensive manipulation of public opinion that has ever happened in human history”.
Carvalho spread the debunked conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and also made up the fake information that a book written by Fernando Haddad, the opponent of Jair Bolsonaro during the 2018 Brazilian general election, promoted incest.
On a January 2021 interview, Carvalho falsely claimed that election fraud took place in the 2020 American presidential election, stating “Everything in this election has been fraudulent.”
During the same interview Carvalho falsely asserted that Joe Biden has Parkinson’s disease and that Biden and Kamala Harris were working for the Chinese government.