Brazilian judge orders Netflix to remove ‘gay Jesus’ comedy | Film

A Brazilian judge on Wednesday ordered Netflix to stop showing a Christmas special that some called blasphemous for depicting Jesus as a gay man and which prompted a bomb attack on the satirists behind the programme.

The ruling by a Rio de Janeiro judge, Benedicto Abicair, responded to a petition by a Brazilian Catholic organisation that argued the “honour of millions 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 targeted in the Christmas Eve attack.

Netflix told the Associated Press it would not comment on the ruling. Porta dos Fundos also declined to comment on the judge’s decision, which contradicted an earlier decision rejecting censorship of the programme. The ruling is valid until another court orders otherwise.

Abicair said the programme’s withdrawal “is beneficial not only to the Christian community, but to Brazilian society which is mostly Christian”.

The ruling comes at a time when 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 inveighing against flamboyant carnival celebrations. The president’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, had called the film “garbage” and said the film-makers “do not represent Brazilian society”.

The day before Christmas, a group of hooded men attacked the headquarters of Porta dos Fundos with Molotov cocktails. No one was hurt. A video circulating days later on social media showed three men claiming responsibility for the attack.

The First Temptation of Christ depicts Jesus returning home on his 30th birthday and implies he is gay. Religious groups bristled at the depiction. The creators of the film have defended it as legitimate freedom of expression.

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