Brazil has overturned a ban on Netflix’s Christmas movie about gay Jesus.
The film, “A Primeira Tentação de Cristo” (“The First Temptation of Christ”), follows Jesus as he brings his boyfriend home to meet his family at Christmas. Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos created the parody.
Public backlash to the movie has been intense. Over two million people in Brazil signed a petition to ban the film for offending Christians. Moreover, the offices of Porta dos Fundos were attacked with Molotov cocktails on Christmas Eve. There were no injuries.
On Wednesday, a judge in Rio de Janeiro banned the film from Netflix. He ruled that it “would harm a society that is mostly Christians.”
“Exhibiting the ‘artistic production’… may cause graver and more irreparable damage than its suspension,” the judge explained.
But Netflix fought for an appeal to the ban. The company argued that the judge was censoring Porta dos Fundos. “The court decision aims to silence the group through fear of intimidation,” Netflix said.
On Thursday, Brazil’s Supreme Court president Justice Dias Toffoli overturned the ban, Reuters reports. Toffoli ruled that Netflix should be allowed to continue showing the film and that freedom of speech is essential in a democracy.
“The satire will not affect the Christian faith of Brazilians,” Toffoli said.
“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.”
Brazil’s Supreme Court passed a new ruling to make homophobia and transphobia illegal in 2019. However, anti-LGBTQ discrimination is still prevalent in the nation. President Jair Bolsonaro, who calls himself “homophobic,” once said that he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. The president’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, called the gay Jesus film “garbage.”