RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The president of Brazil’s Supreme Court issued an order that allows streaming service Netflix to continue exhibiting a satirical film depicting Jesus as a gay man and reaffirmed Brazilians’ right to free speech. It overturns an earlier lower court ruling banning the film.
“It is not to be assumed that a humorous satire has the magic power to undermine the values of the Christian faith, whose existence goes back more than two thousand years,” Supreme Court President José Antonio Dias Toffoli wrote in his decision.
Netflix earlier the same day filed an official complaint with the country’s top legal authority, decrying attempted censorship by a judge in Rio de Janeiro who ordered the film’s withdrawal from its platform. The film was never removed.
Still, the Rio judge’s ruling has revived scrutiny on what his critics call censorship under the far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro. His administration has vowed to fight “cultural Marxism” and openly supports Christian values. Several shows, plays and conferences have been canceled since Bolsonaro took office just over one year ago.
On Wednesday, judge Benedicto Abicair ruled against the film following a petition by a Brazilian Catholic organization that argued the “honor of millions of Catholics” was hurt by the airing of “The First Temptation of Christ.” The special was produced by the Rio-based comedy group Porta dos Fundos, whose headquarters was targeted by gasoline bombs on Christmas Eve.