Brazilian Judge Orders Netflix to Pull Controversial Gay Jesus Film
12:54 PM PST 1/9/2020
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The Christmas special 'The First Temptation of Christ' is a satirical depiction of Jesus Christ as a 30-year-old gay man.

A Rio de Janeiro court has ordered Netflix to take down The First Temptation of Christ from its streaming platform, a short film that has been described as blasphemous by some critics.

Netflix on Thursday told The Hollywood Reporter that it had yet to receive official notification of the judge's ruling, but the streaming giant had gone ahead and filed a complaint before Brazil's Supreme Court based on the right to freedom of expression.

"We strongly support artistic expression and we'll be fighting to defend this important principle, which goes to the heart of great storytelling," Netflix said in a company statement.

The comedy depicts Jesus returning home on his 30th birthday and insinuates he is gay. Religious groups bristled at the depiction, while creators of the pic have defended it as legitimate freedom of expression.

In the ruling on Wednesday, Judge Benedicto Abicair opines that the "right to freedom of expression…is not absolute," according to a BBC report.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by a Brazilian Catholic organization urging that The First Temptation be removed from the streaming platform.

As of Thursday, Netflix's Brazil subscribers still had access to the movie and the film's producer, the Rio-based comedy group Porto dos Fundos, said it had received no court notification.

On Christmas Eve, the office of Porta dos Fundos was the target of a Molotov cocktail fire bombing. Rio police later identified one of the suspects, a 41-year-old businessman named Eduardo Fauzi Richard Cerquise. Investigators said Cerquise has a "violent profile" and remains at large, reportedly in Russia. There were no injuries in the attack.