SAO PAULO — The latest episode of Brazil’s comedy group Porta dos Fundos on Netflix has angered thousands of Brazilians from different religions. The group’s Christmas special, “A Primeira Tentacao de Cristo” (“The First Temptation of Christ”) is a satire about a gay Jesus bringing his boyfriend home to meet Mary and Joseph.
Reaction to the 40-minute show was quick. Brazilians took to social media and the internet, calling for a boycott of Netflix and the cancellation of the parody. The episode, say many, ridicules the Christian faith.
The Brazilian bishops’ conference criticized the short film and said there is a limit to freedom of expression.
The conference “repudiates recent facts that, in the name of freedom of expression and artistic creativity, profoundly assault the Christian faith. Ridiculing the belief of a group, whatever it may be, in addition to constituting an offense under criminal law, means disrespecting all people, hurting the search for an effectively democratic society that values all its citizens,” said the statement, released Dec. 12.
Julio Cesar Ribeiro, a federal representative, announced he was cancelling his Netflix subscription because of the episode. He said it showed Jesus as a gay man and “shows the disciples all drunk. Inadmissible! It is a mockery of the faith of evangelicals, the faith of Catholics. We need to stop it; I will even be filing a representation because this is vile and is provided for in Article 208 of the Penal Code,” said Ribeiro, who is part of the evangelical base in the Brazilian Congress.
Other Brazilians, including Catholic religious, said they would be canceling their subscription to the streaming service.
Brazil’s National Association of Islamic Jurists expressed solidarity, saying, “we are against any disrespect and solidarity with our Christian brothers.”
Petitions have been set up on change.org, both for and against the satire. As of Dec. 13, more than 33,000 people had signed the petition asking that the film be withdrawn from the streaming service, while another 20,000 signed another petition supporting the group and opposing what they called “religious impositions.”
Last year’s Porta dos Fundos special, “The Last Hangover,” depicting Jesus Christ as a drunk, won an International Emmy for best comedy this year.
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