A Brazilian judge has called on Netflix to stop streaming the "blasphemous" Christmas special, depicting Jesus as a gay man.
Rio de Janeiro Judge Benedicto Abicair issued the ruling following the submission of a petition, signed by 2 million, from a Brazilian Catholic organization who argued that the movie, The First Temptation Of Christ, had hurt the "honor of millions of Catholics".
The parody movie was produced by the Rio-based YouTube company Porta dos Fundos. Their office was targeted in a petrol bomb attack on Christmas Eve. No one was injured in the attack. A video circulated days later showed three men claiming responsibility.
One of the suspects is said to have fled to Russia, the BBC reports. Interpol are now seeking to arrest him.
The production company has defended the movie under their legitimate freedom of expression, despite the anger displayed by religious groups.
Judge Abicair said the movie's withdrawal "is beneficial not only to the Christian community but to Brazilian society which is mostly Christian".
He added that "The right to freedom of expression... is not absolute".
This ban is only temporary while a final decision is made.
Brazil has more Catholics than any other country in the world. The movie's release sparked an angry reaction on Twitter.
Even if you don’t believe in Jesus as God, “The First Temptation of Christ” should violate your moral code for the same reasons that racism, sexism, discrimination, abuse, and bullying is wrong.— Heleen V Mendez ✈ (@heleen_mendez) December 17, 2019
Do not mock my God!December 19, 2019
Netflix completely cancelled!!! they dare to mock my God with the movie of “the first temptation of Christ” portraying him to be a homosexual. I can’t !!!!! One less customer I’ve signed my petition.— MIMI_OFFICIAL (@MIMIOFFICIAL17) December 17, 2019
Brazil has more Catholics than any other country, with the film prompting an angry reaction on Twitter.
This case comes during a time when civil groups in Brazil are bemoaning the fact that far-right Brazilian President Jair Balsonaro is waging a "cultural war", cutting funding to the arts, which challenge Christian values and denouncing flamboyant carnival celebrations.
Bolsonaro once said he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. On this matter, his son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, called the Netflix show "garbage" on Twitter, adding that Porta dos Fundos "do not represent Brazilian society".
What do you think? Should this movie be banned?