Ellen Page describes coming face-to-face with serial killer of gay people

A former police officer in Brazil told the actor he had started his murder spree after finding out his son was homosexual

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The Independent Online

The Oscar-nominated actor Ellen Page has described how she came face-to-face with a self-confessed serial killer of gay people in Brazil while filming a documentary on attitudes to homosexuality.

A former police officer turned hitman told the  X-Men star, who came out in 2014, that he had started his murder spree – which he said involved running over people he believed to be gay – after finding out that his son was homosexual.

The Canadian actor said she had made the Gaycation series, investigating LGBT cultures around the world with digital media company Vice, to highlight the vulnerability of gay people to homophobic discrimination and violence.

In the episode on Brazil, which has one of the highest murder rates of gay and transgender people in the world, the killer, who goes by the alias of “El Grande”, told Page he had carried out murders while serving as a policeman in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Speaking with his face covered by a mask, the now ex-officer said: “We used to patrol and the only thing I didn’t like were gays. If I saw them on the way I’d run them over. I did not care what was going on. I didn’t even care for the consequences.” Asked by Page how he felt he could justify his actions, the man continued: “I think every pigsty must be cleaned up. So how do I do my job? By cleaning up what was dirty. For me, they are worse than animals. If they cross my path, I’ll take care of them.”

The killer explained that he had begun his violence after finding his son having sex with another man, adding: “I took issue. I started to hate gays, lesbians or anyone of that kind.”

At one point during the interview, the actor – clearly upset by what she is being told – asked if it was safe to tell her interviewee that she is gay. After doing so, he replied: “You know, each to their own. I live my life and they live theirs. Now, if they cross my path, it’s a different story.”

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The 29-year-old actor, who is in a relationship with artist and surfer Samantha Thomas, acknowledged that she had been scared. Speaking at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, she said: “I think we’d be lying if we said we didn’t feel frightened… You’re not thinking about yourself. You’re thinking about the vulnerable people who are walking the streets of Rio and might not know this man is walking right by them or he might just run them over in his car.”

The actor, who recently confronted Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz at a rally about gay rights, said America needed to do more to end the isolation of minorities. She said: “If we’re in any way perpetuating a society that discriminates and treats people unfairly and doesn’t strive toward true equality, you cause a lot of harm in people’s lives, and a lot of pain and a lot of difficulty.”

She added: “There can be such loneliness and isolation when you’re growing up in a society that does infuse this idea in you that you’re different or something’s wrong or you’re sinful… I’m privileged; I live in LA; I’ve done a job that has given me money; I can walk down the street and kiss my girlfriend. I think a lot about those more vulnerable than me.”