Brazil: Netflix 'gay Jesus' parody film ban overturned

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Video grab released by Netflix Brazil showing a scene from the Netflix production "Porta dos Fundos"s Christmas Special: Christ"s First Temptation"Image source, AFP
Image caption,
In the film, Jesus brings home a boyfriend to meet his family

Brazil's Supreme Court has overturned a ruling that TV streaming service Netflix must remove a film depicting Jesus as gay.

The film, The First Temptation of Christ, infuriated fervent Christians in the country.

Two million people signed a petition calling for it to be axed, and the production company was attacked with Molotov cocktails last month.

A judge temporarily banned the film on Wednesday to appease its critics.

But Supreme Court president Dias Toffoli said on Thursday that Netflix should be allowed to continue streaming the show, stating that freedom of speech was fundamental in a democracy.

"One cannot suppose that a humorous satire has the ability to weaken the values of the Christian faith, whose existence is traced back more than two thousand years, and which is the belief of the majority of Brazilian citizens," the judge said.

Why has the film caused uproar?

The parody film, which was run as a Christmas special, was created by Brazilian YouTube comedy group Porta dos Fundos.

Many of the country's conservative Christians were angered by the portrayal of Jesus bringing home a boyfriend named Orlando to meet his family, while Mary and Joseph plan him a surprise 30th birthday party.

On Christmas Eve, a group attacked Porta dos Fundos's office in Rio de Janeiro with fire bombs.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Comedy group Porta dos Fundos have won international awards

One man suspected of having been part of the attack has fled to Russia, and Interpol are working to arrest him.

Why was it banned in the first place?

A judge in Rio de Janeiro ordered Netflix to take the film down on Wednesday.

Judge Benedicto Abicair said his temporary decision would appease angry Christians until a final decision was made by a higher court.

"Exhibiting the 'artistic production'... may cause graver and more irreparable damage than its suspension," the judge said.

Porta dos Fundos said in a statement that it "opposed any act of censorship, violence, illegality, authoritarianism" and would continue to air its work.

Media caption,

Why are same-sex couples in Brazil rushing to get married?

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro once said he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.

His son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, called the Netflix show "garbage" on Twitter, adding that Porta dos Fundos "do not represent Brazilian society".

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