Brazil orders Netflix to pull movie portraying Jesus as gay

Brendan Morrow

A Brazilian judge has ordered Netflix to take down a controversial comedy special in which Jesus is portrayed as a gay man.

Benedicto Abicair, a Rio de Janeiro judge, on Wednesday ordered Netflix to remove The First Temptation of Christ, a satirical Christmas special released last month in which it's suggested that Jesus is gay, saying that "the consequences of spreading and exhibiting this 'artistic production' ... are more likely to provoke more serious and irreparable damage than the movie's suspension," The Washington Post reports.

"The right to freedom of expression ... is not absolute," the judge also said, BBC News reports.

The First Temptation of Christ's release in early December sparked a fierce backlash in Brazil, and the Rio de Janeiro headquarters of the comedy troupe that created it was attacked with molotov cocktails on Christmas Eve. There were no injuries in the attack.

The judge's ruling this week came in response to a complaint from a Catholic institute. "For the time being, the ban is binding, unless another court rules otherwise," Variety reports.

The Post notes Netflix has faced pressure to remove content overseas before, having last year taken down an episode of Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a request from the Saudi royal family. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings defended that decision in November, saying, "We're not in the news business. We're not trying to do 'truth to power.' We're trying to entertain."

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