Netflix has filed an appeal to Brazil’s highest court after a judge issued a temporary injunction for the streaming service to pull a comedy that depicts Jesus Christ in a gay relationship.
The film entitled “The First Temptation of Christ”, by the Brazilian production company Porta dos Fundos, came out on December 3 and drew strong criticism from conservative politicians in the mainly Catholic country, the church itself and from evangelicals.
It depicts Jesus returning home with his boyfriend Orlando after 40 days in the desert, as Mary and Joseph plan a surprise party for Jesus’s 30th birthday.
The satirical comedy was still available on Netflix Thursday. “We strongly support artistic expression and we will fight to defend this important principle, which is the heart of great stories,” a spokesperson for the on-demand platform said.
Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes is handling Netflix’s appeal, according to the court’s website.
In a statement, Porta dos Fundos said it “opposed any act of censorship, violence, illegality, authoritarianism” and vowed to continue broadcasting its work.
On Christmas Eve, the production company’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro were attacked with Molotov cocktails. No one was hurt.
Police said several men with their faces covered took part in the assault. Police have identified Eduardo Fauzi as a suspect after analyzing security camera footage. He fled to Russia.
The federal police asked Interpol Tuesday to issue a “Red Notice” for Fauzi, Brazil’s state media reported on Wednesday. Fauzi still did not appear on the public list Thursday.
A “red notice” is a request to police across the world to provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.
It is not an arrest warrant. Judge Benedicto Abicair said he was ordering the film yanked for now so as to calm tempers until courts can consider the broader merits of a suit against the movie brought by a Catholic association called the Don Bosco Center for Faith and Culture.
Porta dos Fundos is an award-winning comedy producer founded in 2012. It garnered an international Emmy in 2018.