A judge in Brazil has ordered Netflix to remove the controversial movie “The First Temptation of Christ” — which depicts Jesus as a gay man and Mary as a post-smoker — from the streaming lineup in that country.
In his ruling on Wednesday, Benedicto Abicair — a judge in Rio de Janeiro — said that the “consequences of the dissemination and exhibition of ‘artistic production’ … are more likely to cause more serious and irreparable damage than its suspension,” according to The Washington Post. His decision follows in the aftermath of Change.org petition — which gathered more than 2.3 million signatures — to have it removed and and a Christmas Eve incident in which Molotov cocktails were thrown at the sketch group’s headquarters.
The satirical film, by comedy group Porta dos Fundos, sparked backlash from “seriously offended Christians” in Brazil in December for characterizing Jesus (played by Gregorio Duvivier) as a closeted gay man with a partner named Orlando (Fábio Porchat). According to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, there were “at least” seven lawsuits filed against Netflix regarding the 46-minute movie.
“Porta dos Fundos” co-founder Fábio Porchat previously suggested that the furor was misguided. “We play at insinuating that Jesus has a new friend, and probably this new friend is gay, but they have just been having fun and a very good time in the desert for 40 days,” he told Variety when the petition surfaced. The Change.org protest said it was “in favor of banning” and “the removal” of the film from Netflix, while also wanting a “public retraction.”
When reached for comment Thursday morning, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed to The Post that the film, titled “A Primeira Tentação de Cristo,” had not yet been taken down in Brazil, but that the streaming service had no further comment. Porta dos Fundo said it had not yet received the order as of Wednesday and there was no word on whether an appeal would be made. The film’s US distribution would not be affected by the court’s judgment.
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