Colonel Sanders (l) Jair Bolsonaro (r)

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‘The American gut biome is uniquely strong’: People find connection between Bolsonaro photographed eating KFC, being hospitalized

Colonel Sanders is presumed innocent.


Claire Goforth


A day after his supporters attacked Brazil’s National Congress in an assault eerily reminiscent of the Capitol riot, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was hospitalized with severe abdominal pain in Orlando, Florida. He’s been in the Sunshine State for roughly a week.

News of the far-right politician’s hospitalization immediately flooded the internet with rumors as to its cause and possible intent. Many alleged that Bolsonaro checked into the hospital to avoid being extradited to Brazil over his presumed role in the insurrection attempt. Another prominent and equally unfounded rumor is that he was poisoned.

An oddly specific claim making the rounds online is that an American fast food staple caused Bolsonaro’s stomach woes. A few days ago, he was photographed dining at a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in Orlando. Now people are blaming KFC for his condition.

“Thank you Col Sanders!” a Twitter user facetiously wrote of the news of Bolsonaro’s hospitalization.

Another commented, “They should never ever send Bolsonaro back to Brazil. It’s way too funny that his strongman cult is getting their asses kicked in Brazil while he dies of KFC poisoning in a Minions-themed Florida hospice.”

His COVID-19 denialism, extremism, and baseless claims that he lost the presidential election due to voter fraud have endeared Bolsonaro to the far-right figures who supported the Capitol riot. These same stances have turned others against him.

Both his supporters and detractors are spreading the KFC theory.

“Eating KFC will do that to you,” a subscriber to a far-right Telegram channel commented this afternoon.

A handful of people have linked his condition to Publix Super Markets. Bolsonaro generated headlines after being photographed walking around one of the Florida grocery stores.

There’s no evidence that either Publix or Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe is related to Bolsonaro’s health issues. A far more likely cause is him being stabbed in the abdomen while campaigning in 2018. He’s been hospitalized with stomach problems many times since then.

Almost exactly one year ago, Bolsonaro was treated for an intestinal blockage. He’s experienced gut blockages multiple times since the stabbing five years ago.

It may not be advisable for someone with his medical history to eat fast food, but that doesn’t mean KFC is to blame for Bolsonaro’s current condition.

There are KFCs in Brazil, so it’s equally possible that Bolsonaro has been eating eight-piece buckets and Chicken Little Combos this whole time without issue.

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