The coordination of PIPA Prize decided to post this statement after comments at its page on Facebook regarding PIPA Online 2017 voting.
PIPA Prize believes that one the biggest roles of art (and of artists) is to act as a social “thermometer”, highlighting the most pressing matters of today’s world and helping build relevant, good-faithed debates around it. Hence, when we manage to bring concrete, important discussions to the table, we believe that we are somehow fulfilling our role. After all, the first step towards solving a matter – especially such a complex and heartfelt one such as racism in Brazil – is to acknowledge it and to discuss it.
We have, to our best efforts, verified the origin and legitimacy of PIPA Online 2017 votes, and we have not identified amongst them fictional Facebook profiles, robots or any members of racist communities. The fact is, however, that the ability to verify the authenticity and identity of Facebook or any social media network members (and their belonging or not to organized groups) is way beyond our reach, depending not only of the said platforms but of telecommunications operators and competent authorities.
To evaluate and punish occasional extreme or even criminal mediatic manifestations is not a responsibility of PIPA Prize, but of the competent authorities. What happened regarding PIPA Online 2017 participant Musa Michelle Mattizzui was indeed unfortunate, and we are taking the appropriate measures to make sure it will not happen again. We have been manually reporting each of the offensive comments we have found in our Facebook page, but we cannot punish voters who have taken part in an open, democratic, online competition, especially considering that we have no proof that they belong to racist groups.
We would like to take this opportunity to stress PIPA Prize’s commitment with creativity, diversity, freedom of speech, and especially with the power of the arts to bring to the surface concrete matters and conflicts of today’s world, as well as to repudiate any racist, misogynist, or prejudiced attitudes of any nature. We would also like to remember that, in 2016, PIPA Prize winner was Paulo Nazareth, who descends of both indigenous and black ethnicities, and PIPA Online winners were two members of indigenous tribes, Jaider Esbell and Arissana Pataxó.
PIPA Prize repudiates racism.