In Brazil, Legal action has been taken against Netflix’s The First Temptation of Christ, a TV comedy special that many Christians called blasphemous for depicting Jesus as gay.
The ruling by a Rio de Janeiro judge, Benedicto Abicair, responded to a petition signed by 2.4 million Brazilian Catholics that argued the “honour of Catholics” was hurt by the airing of The First Temptation of Christ. The special was produced by the Rio-based film company Porta dos Fundos, whose headquarters was attacked with gasoline bombs on Christmas Eve.
Abicair said its removal “is beneficial not only to the Christian community, but to Brazilian society, which is mostly Christian.” Reps for Netflix declined to comment. The ruling is valid until ordered otherwise by a higher court.
The First Temptation of Christ, which premiered on Netflix on Dec. 3 and is still on Netflix, told a comedic story about Jesus’s return home from the desert for his 30th birthday. Mary and Joseph were waiting up to surprise him with a party, so instead of sneaking in unseen, Jesus is forced to introduce them to his flamboyant male friend.
On Christmas Eve, representatives for the production company, Porta dos Fundos, reported their headquarters were hit by Molotov cocktails, though no one was injured. A video had been posted online that saw three men perpetrating the attack and crediting the Command of Popular National Insurgence.
Brazil’s far right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been accused of waging a cultural war, cutting funding for arts projects that “challenge Christian values” and shutting down LGBT projects and celebrations. The president’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, had called the film “garbage” and said the film-makers “do not represent Brazilian society”.
A previous statement from the comedy troupe reads, “Porta dos Fundos values artistic freedom and humor through satire on the most diverse cultural themes of our society and believes that freedom of expression is an essential construction for a democratic country.”
Watch a trailer for the special below