Netflix was probably not expecting a massive pushback when they put the movie, “The First Temptation of Christ” on their streaming platform, but boy did they get one.
As of Friday, more than 1.2 million American Christians have signed a Change.org petition asking Netflix to take down the self-described “comedy,” which depicts Jesus bringing home “a surprise guest” to meet his family. Brought to the States by the Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos, the movie has come under fire from both American conservatives and Brazilian Catholics.
“It is a serious offense against Jesus Christ and the Christians! It has no historical evidence to support the insinuations presented,” one petitioner wrote.
In a statement, the group behind the special said, “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.”
We don’t disagree with that last point; for instance, government officials in Brazil have talked about “taking action” against the group, and we don’t agree with any censorship of that sort. However, if enough Netflix subscribers cancel their accounts, it might as least convince entertainment corporations here in the States that there is no significant audience for this trash. Censorship is always bad; offensive crap like this should be destroyed with the power of the wallet.
On Change.org, the originator of the petition wrote, “My name is Jaymarie Pereira. I am a Christian. Though this petition is to remove this movie because I’m a Christian, it is also because it’s very disrespectful. It’s all about RESPECT. I don’t see the point of this movie, it’s very distasteful, and I held Netflix at a higher standard than this. At first I thought it wasn’t true, I had to see for myself that Netflix would release a movie this disgusting, and when I did I can’t begin to explain how horrible I felt. We all want respect but never give it. I ask that you see it in your hearts that it’s the right thing to do, for Netflix to remove such atrocity. I cannot believe after all the backlash it’s not been removed. United as one is how we will prevail.”
Of course, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how Netflix would have reacted if this movie depicted Mohammad as a gay man. Indeed, it would have never, in a million years, been allowed on the platform. Apparently mass violence is the only way for a religion to secure basic, decent respect. What a lesson to teach the world.