Netflix ordered to pull ‘gay Jesus’ Christmas film after outrage from millions of Catholics

Brazilian gay Jesus movie

A judge in Brazil has banned a Netflix Christmas film that depicts Jesus as gay after millions of Catholics in the country complained.

More than two million people signed a petition to ban the parody “gay Jesus” Netflix film, A Primeira Tentação de Cristo, or The First Temptation of Christ, for “seriously offending Christians”.

The film follows Jesus, “who’s hitting the big 3-0”, bringing his boyfriend home to meet his family at Christmas.

A Primeira Tentação de Cristo was created by Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos, whose offices were attacked with Molotov cocktails in the early hours Christmas Eve in response to the film.

Public figures also expressed outrage at the movie, with actor Carlos Vereza writing on Facebook that Porta dos Fundos were “pretentious idiots, messengers of the new world order, who [support] the deconstruction of family and religion”, and called the film a “trash-porn movie”.

Now, a Rio de Janeiro court has ordered Netflix to remove the film from its streaming service, in a temporary ban until a final decision is made.

According to the BBC, judge Benedicto Abicair said in the ruling: “The right to freedom of expression… is not absolute.”

He added: “Exhibiting the ‘artistic production’… may cause graver and more irreparable damage than its suspension.”

Margarida Salomão, member of the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil, wrote on Twitter in response to the ruling: “The censorship of Porta dos Fundos is scandalous. But the hole is deeper.

“The ruling is full proof of how unprepared some magistrates are. And cowards. Because they do not understand that the video in question is not a provocation to Christianity.

“On the contrary, the irony of the film is precisely to reach out to those who claim to be Christian (thus professing love as a principle), but who feel they have the right to be prejudiced in many ways, including homophobia.

“Therefore, the ruling proves two things: That the dictatorship did not teach the dangers of censorship, and that our society has a hard time admitting prejudice.”

2019 saw a number of media censorship attempts by self-professed homophobe and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, including suppression of LGBT+ films and even an illustrated same-sex kiss in a comic book.