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Entertainment can create no shortage of controversy when religion is involved. Netflix only just faced criticism over releasing a special that featured a gay Jesus and weed-smoking Mary, and now another one of its originals that tackles religion is under fire. Messiah is at risk of being banned in Jordan after its Royal Film Commission requested Netflix not release it in the country.
The request, which was shared ahead of Messiah's release in Jordan, read that the RFC had requested that Netflix refrain from showing the series in Jordan. A Netflix representative responded, and stated that the company had yet to receive any formal legal request to remove Messiah from the country's version of Netflix. A Netflix rep added this:
Messiah is a work of fiction. It is not based on any one character, figure or religion. All Netflix shows feature ratings and information to help members make their own decisions about what’s right for them and their families.
The situation is interesting considering portions of Messiah were filmed in Jordan. The Royal Film Commission supported the filming of the project initially, and Deadline reported that authorities had viewed synopses of the episodes before awarding a tax credit and allowing the project to shoot in the area. It seems the RFC was initially on board with Messiah, but has since changed its tune.
Messiah is about a man who garners a large following through public acts, and soon captures the attention of some people in high places. The series may be controversial to anyone religious, as this fictional prophet challenges the modern beliefs of many major religions. Additionally, some people have taken issue with the key character being referred to as "Al-Masih," which is Arabic for "The Messiah." Others have raised concern over the show's actual shooting on grounds considered holy, such as Jerusalem’s Temple Mount..
Messiah is currently available in the United States, though it's unknown what the status of the series is on Netflix in Jordan. Regardless of what Netflix does, the situation has encouraged the Royal Film Commission to put a closer eye on what projects it approves, and may jeopardize the filming of projects there in the future. If the content being filmed is in conflict with Jordanian law, there's a solid chance it will be struck down.
As mentioned, Messiah is currently available to stream on Netflix. Stick with CinemaBlend to stay informed on all major things happening in the world of streaming, movies, and television. Our 2020 Netflix premiere schedule can point you toward all kinds of viewing options in the new year, and our winter and spring TV guide can reveal your options on broadcast and cable as well.