***Update***: The Brazilian Supreme Court has reversed this decision, allowing the movie to remain on Netflix in the country.
Just weeks after Netflix premiered a Portuguese-language satire called The First Temptation of Christ by the comedy team Porta dos Fundos, in which Jesus is shown in a same-sex relationship, things have just gone from bad to worse in Brazil.
Now a court is demanding the company take it down. It’s a temporary ban, but it’s still a bad omen.
Judge Benedicto Abicair said his temporary decision would appease furious Christians until a final decision is made by a higher court.
“Exhibiting the ‘artistic production’… may cause graver and more irreparable damage than its suspension,” the judge wrote.
The reasoning here is awful: You can never appease religious zealots. If they’re not technically in a cult, they still exhibit cult-like behavior. It’s not like “mild” satire of Jesus is going to be okay either. By punishing Netflix or the film’s creators, this judge is sending a clear message that attempting to murder comedians who mock something you love will get you results — even if the firebombers are eventually caught and punished themselves.
More to the point: The film isn’t causing “graver and more irreparable damage.” Blame that on the Christians who can’t deal with it.
Even if the judge rescinds the ban at some point, does he seriously think the zealots will just accept it? Of course not.
This is horrible precedent. It’s also exactly what you’d expect when your country is led by a religious zealot himself.