More than 1.3 million people have signed a petition demanding that Netflix remove a Brazilian comedy special that depicts Jesus Christ as a homosexual.
Titled “The First Temptation of Christ” (presumably alluding to the controversial 1988 film “The Last Temptation of Christ”), the satirical special was created by a Brazilian comedy group known as Porta Does Fundos. It premiered on Dec. 3.
“Jesus, who's hitting the big 3-0, brings a surprise guest to meet the family. A Christmas special so wrong, it must be from comedians Porta dos Fundos,” reads its description on Netflix.
The satirical film has stirred up a good deal of controversy in Brazil, where many conservative Christians and churches have denounced the comedy special.
A petition in Portuguese calling for Netflix to remove the special was posted last week on Change.org by a person named Alex Brindejoncy. As of Friday morning, it has gotten over 1.35 million signatures.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of conservative Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, took to social media to denounce the satirical special.
“We support freedom of expression, but is it worth attacking the belief of 86 percent of the population?” Bolsonaro asked, as reported by AFP.
Henrique Soares da Costa, a bishop in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, took to his Facebook account to say he had canceled his Netflix account due to the film, according to AFP, denouncing it as “blasphemous, vulgar and disrespectful.”
This is not the first time that Porta Dos Fundos has made a comedy special that poked fun at key aspects of Christianity and the Bible.
In 2018, the comedy troupe released a special on Netflix whose English title was “The Last Hangover,” which like “The First Temptation of Christ” received a TV-MA rating.
“In this biblical ‘Hangover’ spoof, the apostles awaken to find Jesus is missing and must piece together events of the previous night's wild Last Supper,” noted its Netflix description.
Controversy over the Porta Dos Fundos film comes as Netflix releases the trailer for a new series titled “Messiah,” which is produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and expected to portray Jesus in a more reverent light.
“Messiah promises to be a fascinating series for viewers of every faith, and a thrilling drama filled with multi-layered characters set on a global stage,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content for Netflix, earlier this month.