World

Was supermodel Gisele Bundchen 'mugged'?

Scene in Olympics opening ceremony rehearsal sparks uproar

A scene in the Olympic Games opening ceremony that spectators at a rehearsal thought depicted an attempted mugging of supermodel Gisele Bundchen sparked a bizarre polemic in Brazil on Monday.

Leaks following a dress rehearsal at Rio's Maracanã Stadium on Sunday included reports of a skit in which a mugger attempts to rob the Brazilian supermodel before police intervene and she forgives her assailant.

Ceremony organisers lashed out at the reports, saying they were inaccurate and violated requests to keep the content of the extravaganza under wraps.

But Brazilian newspapers quoted witnesses saying that they were sure that the scene showed an attempted street robbery - a surprising choice in an Olympic host city plagued by real-life crime, AFP reported.

According to Folha de Sao Paulo daily, Ms Bundchen struts out to Girl From Ipanema - a classic song celebrating a beautiful, young woman of Rio - and is "assaulted by an actor".

"The final message from the scene, however, is peace," the report said.

One of the show's masterminds, City Of God movie director Fernando Meirelles, angrily denied the report.

"Folha de SP says Gisele is assaulted during the opening ceremony at the Olympics. Where does Folha get this dumb idea from? They messed up badly," he tweeted.

The Olympic organising committee told AFP in a statement only that "there is no robbery", declining to explain further.

But in a new twist on Monday, a Globo newspaper columnist Lauro Jardim reported that the controversial scene was being axed.

He said directors had meant to have the scene show a street vendor running up to Ms Bundchen to sell her a bikini.

"On paper, it was perfect. At the rehearsal yesterday, however, it didn't work," the columnist wrote.

"It gave the impression to those watching that it was about an assault. And from this, it turned into a polemic on social media."

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