In President Bolsanaro’s Brazil, satirical art has become subject to censorship.
A Brazilian judge has ordered Netflix to pull the plug on The First Temptation of Christ, a controversial comedic Christmas special featuring a gay Jesus.
The special, created by comedy crew Porta dos Fundos (“Back Door”), depicts Jesus returning home to Nazareth for his 30th birthday, and having to introduce Mary and Joseph to the male friend he’d become intimately acquainted with during his time in the desert.
First Temptation has not exactly been sitting well with some Brazilians since its December 3 release. Shortly afterward, three men claiming to represent the obscure far-right group Command of Popular National Insurgence tossed Molotov cocktails at the office of Porta dos Fundos. Thankfully, there were no injuries.
According to Entertainment Weekly, however, the reason Judge Benedicto Abicair asked Netflix to remove the special was not to protect the the troupe from further attacks, but rather in response to a popular petition calling for the show’s removal.
After the bombing, the group behind the special released the following statement to Netflix: “Porta dos Fundos values artistic freedom and humor through satire on the most diverse cultural themes of our society and believes that freedom of expression is an essential construction for a democratic country.”
This is the most recent crackdown on free expression in Brazil. Several months ago, government representatives first began shutting down live shows that slipped in taboo political messages.
Netflix, of course, has faced censorship requests elsewhere in the world in repressive regimes. A year ago, streaming giant pulled the episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minaj, which was critical of Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the service in the country.
Any Brazilians reading this who may be interested in seeing the blasphemous art should know that as of Friday morning, The First Temptation of Christ has not yet been removed from Netflix.