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9 Jan, 2020 16:54

‘Freedom of expression not absolute’: Brazilian judge orders Netflix to remove ‘gay Jesus’ special

‘Freedom of expression not absolute’: Brazilian judge orders Netflix to remove ‘gay Jesus’ special

A controversial Netflix comedy special depicting Jesus as a gay man has met its demise at the hands of a Brazilian judge, after he ordered the streaming service to remove it following a lawsuit from a Catholic group.

Netflix was ordered to remove ‘The First Temptation of Christ,’ a Christmas special by Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos, from its platform on Wednesday. Conservative Catholic organization Associacao Centro Dom Bosco de Fe e Cultura had claimed the film “attacked the protection of religious freedom” with its insulting portrayals of the Holy Family.  

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The consequences of spreading and exhibiting this ‘artistic production’… are more likely to provoke more serious and irreparable damage than the movie’s suspension,” state court judge Benedicto Abicair said.

The right to freedom of expression is not absolute.

The movie incensed conservative Christians by depicting Jesus as a gay man bringing a boyfriend home to his family: a dimwitted Joseph and a lustful Mary. After its release last month, the film was controversially received, with petitions to remove it gaining over two million signatures.

One particularly dedicated group of detractors even firebombed Porta dos Fundos’ offices in Rio de Janeiro on Christmas Eve, filming the attack, so there was no question about the cause of the fire (which was quickly contained), and boasting that they had acted against the filmmakers’ “blasphemous, bourgeois and anti-patriotic attitude.” 

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Abicair’s ruling reversed a previous one by a lower court, and may still be overturned, according to local media. Netflix has the option of appealing to the entire court, since the injunction was issued by a single judge. 

The decision inspired the defenders of Porta dos Fundos (“backdoor” in Portuguese) to pry into the judge’s background, where they discovered he has written articles slamming everything from scantily-clad airline passengers and unhygienic dog owners to ‘disrespectful’ clothing worn by lawyers.

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