Anyone who’s seen Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina may recall seeing this statue of Baphomet inside a school for witchcraft. The still below is about six minutes into the fourth episode:
That statue bears a striking resemblance to the Baphomet statue that The Satanic Temple has been trying to place in various public settings in response to Ten Commandments monuments going up in the same spaces.
Maybe you’re thinking that’s only a coincidence because all Baphomet statues look like that. If you were to create a statue of Jesus on the cross, no doubt it would bear resemblance to similar pieces of art. But the Satanists say that’s not the case at all. Their statue was uniquely designed. They paid for it. They have a copyright on it.
In fact, the only other famous depiction of Baphomet is from an 1856 drawing by a man named Eliphas Lévi, and that looks nothing like the statues. That drawing doesn’t have children looking up from the sides. It also includes bare breasts.
That means the statue in the TV show was a ripoff of the Temple’s work… or it was a remarkable coincidence. The production designer for the show is going with the latter option.
According to Lisa Soper, the production designer of Sabrina who spoke with VICE about the statue in an interview conducted before Greaves tweeted about taking legal action, the show’s statue was not modeled after TST’s. “I think that’s kind of a coincidence…,” Sopher said. “When you look at Baphomet, there’s really only a couple of statues of him — which, they have their statue, and we’ve got our statue in the show.”
Whatever the reason, The Satanic Temple has announced its intent to sue Netflix and Warner Brothers for copyright infringement. The Temple said they hadn’t been asked for permission, but even if the show’s producers did that, the request would’ve been rejected.
… Given the show’s utilization of the Baphomet statue to represent an evil cannibalistic cult, a perception falsely associated with Satanism even in modern times, TST would have denied its use to the show creators. Not only does it contradict what Baphomet represents, we owe it to those who identify with us to not allow this image, and by extension them, to be represented in this way.
Legal counsel has been consulted on the legitimacy of the case and they have agreed we have a clear claim of copyright infringement. Letters have been sent to both Netflix and Warner Brothers requesting that all renditions of the Baphomet statue be removed from their media and that they cease its use going forward.
The letter itself (which was sent to me by the Temple) attempts to move away from a potential lawsuit while making three specific demands:
By November 9, 2018, please (1) take down any advertisements that features the likeness of the Baphomet monument; (2) take down and refrain from any use of the likeness from the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” — or any other works; and (3) produce an explanation behind the origins of the monument as used in the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
That last one may be the most interesting. I’m curious what producers point to as the statue’s inspiration if not the Satanists’ exact monument. It’s not just the copyright issue, said Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves. The show is depicting Satanists in an unfair way — a way they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with if it were some other religious group.
It’s up to Netflix to clear this up.