Story at a glance
- A new comedy on Netflix portrays Jesus as a gay man in his 30s coming home for the holidays.
- Critics are petitioning Netflix to remove the comedy from its catalog.
- Porta dos Fundos, the YouTube comedy group that made the film, is defending the content.
"Jesus, who's hitting the big 3-0, brings a surprise guest to meet the family," reads the Netflix description of "The First Temptation of Christ," released Dec. 3.
The surprise guest is implied to be Jesus's boyfriend, “Orlando,” and some Netflix users are not happy about his appearance — or any of the other irreverent depictions of Jesus, including a scene in which he smokes marijuana. A change.org petition asking Netflix to remove the movie from its catalog and for the group to publicly retract its content had nearly 2 million signatures as of Dec. 17.
The comedy film is a product of Brazilian YouTube comedy group Porta dos Fundos known for their satirical sketches. Their co-founder Fábio Porchat told Variety the group stands by the special and that they haven’t heard anything from Netflix about the backlash.
“It doesn’t incite violence, we’re not saying people shouldn’t believe in God,” Porchat told Variety.
Porchat told Variety that critics in Brazil are mostly upset over the implication in the film that Jesus is gay.
“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. God is black and white and gay and straight. God is everything. It’s more homophobic to be insulted by a gay Jesus than to make Jesus special,” Porchat said to Variety.