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The Brazilian Issue

The Horny Humanitarian

While it’s true that Maroni publishes the Brazilian editions of Hustler and Penthouse, he also owns cattle ranches, a mixed-martial-arts fighting league, hotels, and some of the most notorious nightclubs in South America.

by Laura Wrona
May 2 2009, 12:00am

Interview By VICE Staff    Portrait By Laura Wrona
All Other Images Courtesy of Oscar Maroni   Translated By Peter Azen





Oscar Maroni is, fairly or not, often thought of as the Larry Flynt of Brazil. While it’s true that Maroni publishes the Brazilian editions of Hustler and Penthouse, he also owns cattle ranches, a mixed-martial-arts fighting league, hotels, and some of the biggest and most notorious nightclubs in South America. He also made a serious run for councilman about a year ago and claims to have stuck his penis in over 1,500 vaginas. We think all these things prove that he’s immeasurably more interesting than a pervy rolling sack of lumps and skin who’s way past his prime, and the Flynt comparison is just lazy journalism. So we hung out with him for a day in São Paulo to set a good example.

Vice: You’re an entrepreneur, a pornographer, and an aspiring politician. That’s quite a mixed bag of interests. Have you always had these types of expectations for your life and career?

Oscar Maroni:
I started working at the age of 14 or 15 years old. One of my first business activities was buying friends’ comic books at a discounted rate and selling them for a profit to people who were passing by a local bus stop. It was sort of a revelation to me—that I could make money this way. When I was about 18, my dad and I were walking to my grandfather’s house one night and we found two packages: one with loads of cheap cotton shirts and another with cotton panties. The next day, I put the boxes in a cart and went to the street market to sell them. I would run around the market saying stuff like, “Lady, get sexier for your husband and buy some panties. Husband, put on this shirt and get sexier for your lady.” I like to think that the first sex shop in Brazil was me selling those panties and t-shirts on the street.

Did you have a formal education?

I studied psychology at the university at Grupo Objetivo. There I met Ms. Marisa, my ex-wife and the mother of my children. I knew that I was going to marry Marisa, but we needed money to survive and the psychology degree just wasn’t going to cut it. So I had the idea of starting a snack trailer, and that’s where my life of entrepreneurship really started. We began selling croquettes. I used to work in the morning and study in the afternoons while Marisa did the opposite.

A spoof on the movie poster for The People vs. Larry Flynt, featuring Maroni as the Pied Piper of Brazilian porno.

How did you go from hawking meat fried in bread crumbs to charging people to look at magazines full of tits and asses?

I was running the food cart in 1974 around the same time the Joelma Building caught fire in São Paulo. I don’t know if you remember this, but it was a great tragedy where almost 200 people died. The owner of the trailer needed it back to store some things he had been keeping in the Joelma Building, so I had to give it up. I knew this little Japanese guy who always used to buy food from me. He was really shy but once told me he suffered from premature ejaculation and was semi-impotent. At the time, a friend of his told us that there were some sex professionals who, together with the therapists, helped their clients overcome problems with sexuality. So I took my little friend to “relax” at one of the massage parlors, and instantly he became more confident. I joked that I wanted to start a business like this, and when I returned to the parlor I talked with the manager about buying the place. Unexpectedly, he said, “Look, we want to sell it. Your idea is good because a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists look for us to treat their patients.” So I bought it. I took out an ad in the newspaper that said something like, “Home Massages: Where your fantasies become reality. An establishment frequented by men, women, and couples.” I had clients instantly.

While campaigning for councilman, Maroni would take to the streets with a microphone, a soapbox, and half-naked ladies. Their outfits displayed “70.111,” which was the number used to vote for him on the ballots.

Do you adhere to any type of philosophy to guide your endeavors?

My philosophy is the following: I don’t believe in anything that doesn’t have a soul. And I don’t mean a religious soul—it’s more a way of life and thinking. If someone doesn’t have a soul, then they’re just a body. A being needs an objective and ideology. I think that everyone should do a revolution every day—a revolution to use a hat, take off a bra, fuck five women, to stay the whole day in bed fucking Yoko and eating chocolate like the Beatles. I think that people should be always trying to change things to get out of their routines. You must search for new things.


Maroni takes in the machismo and scores a souvenir tooth at one of his Show Fight events.

You have many adoring fans. Even now while we’re conducting this interview, people are asking for autographs and stopping to shower you with compliments. Do you feel like you represent something to them?

I represent the man who’s driving a Jaguar. I represent the man who has fucked more than 1,500 women, the man who drives a Harley Davidson, the man who, at 57, goes to a rave and dances until five or six in the morning, a man who represents a certain liberty in the way of being and thinking. I didn’t come to the world to be normal. I came to this world to be happy. I define myself as a collector of emotions. There’s a joke I tell where I ask, “If you had to choose, would you rather cut off your dick or cut out your heart?” And for women: “The vagina or the heart?” The dick and vagina symbolize sexuality and the heart symbolizes emotion, sensation, pleasure, and everything else. If I had to choose, I would prefer to cut off my dick. A fuck without emotion would be a mechanical fuck where you stick it in, move your hips 450 times, and then ejaculate.

And now you’re extremely successful in many different fields. Tell us about your business ventures.

Today I own five companies. I opened the biggest nightclub in South America, the Bahamas Club. Then there’s my Santa Cecilia Farm in Araçatuba, where I breed cattle and horses and produce an average of 8 to 10 thousand kilos of meat every day. In third place comes Oscar’s Hotel, which is a hotel for businessmen. I invested about $30 million and it has 223 apartments, 300 parking spaces, three restaurants, and a gym. I’m also widely known as the owner of the Brazilian editions of Penthouse and Hustler. Then there’s Show Fight, which is a series of fighting events inspired by leagues like UFC and MMA. We’ve also created a Show Fight energy drink.

A portrait depicting Maroni as ruler of the cosmos hangs in a tucked-away corner of his Bahamas Club.  

A campaign poster for Maroni’s run for councilman. It reads “Stop the Hypocrisy” and features a picture of him playing with a remote-controlled helicopter while sitting next to his prized Maltese.


You’ve become very interested in politics in recent years. How are you different than the status quo politician?

I’m symbolizing irreverence toward the traditional politician who is arbitrary and repressive—someone who castrates freedom. I’m going through a pretty delicate moment in my life right now. Bahamas and my hotel were shut down about 16 months ago because they were close to an airstrip where a terrible plane crash happened. I somehow became a scapegoat for this, and the local politicians used it as an excuse to interrupt my business. So I ran for councilman in the past elections. It was really fun, but I still don’t know why I did it. Maybe it was as an act of rebellion. Maybe it was because I think I can shake up this hypocrisy, this corruption, this fakeness. They blacklisted me and I could only get on TV because I would talk shit about local politics. So we campaigned tête-à-tête, walking around the streets with a shopping cart, a battery, an amplifier, a microphone, and a fruit box to stand on. Next to me I’d have two beautiful women wearing bikinis and bathrobes. During my speech they would open their bathrobes and the number you’d use to vote for me on the ballot was written on their bodies. It got a lot of attention from the media.

What did you say in your speeches?

One of my ideas was to transform downtown São Paulo, which is abandoned, into a big, productive center of work and to triple the area’s productivity. I wanted to transform the downtown area into a mini Las Vegas with games, casinos, restaurants, and venues. My concern was with the business side of it, which is what I like to work with, but at the same time I really wanted to build jobs based on fun and leisure. I believe that the main function of the politician is the social function. A lot of my speeches were based on reflecting on what it is to be a politician. Will I become rotten? Will I become corrupt? When I campaigned in the favelas, I witnessed children fighting against rats for food, I witnessed children sleeping in places that I wouldn’t even let my dog sleep. I also visited rich people in mansions. I know practically the whole world, and I’ve witnessed misery nearly everywhere. When it comes down to it, I just love humanity. I love life, I love human creativity, and I love people. I just want things to be better for everyone.

 

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