Brazil bans gay Jesus film after Christians complain

9 January 2020, 06:13

The First Temptation of Christ has been banned in Brazil
The First Temptation of Christ has been banned in Brazil. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Netflix has been ordered to stop showing a Christmas special that has been branded blasphemous for depicting Jesus as a gay man.

A Brazilian judge has ordered the streaming service to stop showing the film The First Temptation of Christ after a petition by a Brazilian Catholic organisation that argued the "honour of millions of Catholics" were hurt.

The film depicts Jesus returning home on his 30th birthday and insinuates he is gay.

The ruling by Rio de Janeiro judge Benedicto Abicair is valid until another court orders otherwise.

Although religious groups were angry at the depiction, the creators of the film have defended it as legitimate freedom of expression.

The special was produced by the Rio-based film company Porta dos Fundos, whose headquarters was targeted in a petrol bomb attack on Christmas Eve.

Netflix said it would not comment on the ruling.

Porta dos Fundos also declined to comment on the judge's decision, which contradicted an earlier decision rejecting censorship of the programme.

Abicair said the programme's withdrawal "is beneficial not only to the Christian community, but to Brazilian society which is mostly Christian".

The ruling comes at a time when some civil groups say far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is waging a "cultural war", cutting funding for arts projects that challenge Christian values and denouncing flamboyant carnival celebrations.

A group of hooded men attacked the headquarters of Porta dos Fundos with Molotov cocktails on December 24.

No-one was hurt in the attack, and a video circulating days later on social media showed three men claiming responsibility.

The synopsis for the film reads: ”Jesus, who's hitting the big 3-0, brings a surprise guest to meet the family. A Christmas special so wrong, it must be from comedians Porta dos Fundos.“