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Christian Netflix subscribers in Brazil were unpleasantly surprised earlier this month when comedy special The First Temptation of Christ, from Brazilian YouTube group Porta dos Fundos, hit the service. The special features some very non-traditional characterizations of Biblical people, including a pot-smoking Mary and what seems to be a gay Jesus. The special made them so upset, actually, that a petition was begun to have it removed from Netflix.
That petition now has almost 2 million signatures and Porta dos Fundos co-founder Fábio Porchat, who has a role in the special as Jesus' gay friend Orlando, is finally speaking out about the controversy. And, not only does he believe that Porta dos Fundos has the support of Netflix, he also thinks that there's only one thing that really upsets people about their special.
It doesn’t incite violence, we’re not saying people shouldn’t believe in God. They [Netflix] haven’t said anything to us like, ‘Maybe we should stop making the special available.’ They support freedom of speech.
The show is almost a Christian fairy tale: Jesus faces off bravely with the Devil and then chooses to follow God, accepting to be his son, Jesus Christ. A lot of people, when they see the show, say: ‘Oh that’s what they were talking about? Ok, that’s O.K., they’re just having fun, no problem at all.’ For some Catholics here in Brazil, it’s O.K. if Jesus is a bad guy, uses drugs: That’s no problem. The problem is he’s gay. No, he can’t be gay. And that’s interesting because Jesus is everything.
While Netflix hasn't said anything, publicly, about the controversy over The First Temptation of Christ, Fábio Porchat noted in his interview with Variety that the streamer also hasn't notified Porta dos Fundos that they would be removing the special, and haven't even suggested that those behind the service now have doubts about whether or not to keep it available. Porchat seems to fully believe that this is because Netflix supports their freedom of speech.
Fábio Porchat also said that, for many people who watch the special to see what all the fuss has been about, they don't seem too troubled by the basic ideas, even though they're presented in ways most Christians wouldn't be expecting. They're ready to take it as a bit of "fairy tale" fun and not get worked up about how Jesus, Mary, Joseph and other Biblical players are shown.
For Porchat, though, the real kicker to the people who are angry enough with The First Temptation of Christ to start or sign a petition is the idea that Jesus might be gay in the show. He went on to say that, while the special certainly plays at insinuating that Jesus and his new friend Orlando are gay, that's never explicitly stated, meaning that, to Porchat, the main basis for the protestations is homophobic.