He is risen! Netflix wins appeal to overturn ban on ‘gay Jesus’ Christmas film

Gay jesus

Netflix has won an appeal at Brazil’s supreme court to overturn the ban imposed this week on a Christmas film that depicts Jesus as gay.

The film follows Jesus, “who’s hitting the big 3-0”, bringing his boyfriend home to meet his family at Christmas, and more than two million people signed a petition to ban the movie for “seriously offending Christians”.

A Primeira Tentação de Cristo, or The First Temptation of Christ, 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.

On Wednesday, January 8, a Rio de Janeiro judge banned the parody “gay Jesus” Netflix film, ruling that showing the film “would harm a society that is mostly Christian”.

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

But Netflix argued in the supreme court appeal that the state judge had censored Porta dos Fundos and that “the court decision aims to silence the group through fear and intimidation”.

According to Reuters, on Thursday, January 9, Brazil’s supreme court president Justice Dias Toffoli overturned the ban, ruling that Netflix should be able to show the film and stating that freedom of speech is essential to democracy.

Toffoli added: “The satire will not affect the Christian faith of Brazilians”.

When the ban was overturned, Netflix Brasil wrote on Twitter: “We strongly support artistic expression and will fight to defend this important principle, which is the heart of great stories.”

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. 

In August, Brazil’s special secretary of culture, Henrique Medeiros Pires, has stepped down in protest against president Bolsonaro’s censorship of LGBT+ content on TV.

Pires said at the time: “Either I speak up and get out, or I’ll be complicit.”