Just like when Robert Kirkman made a character named Jesus gay in The Walking Dead and got himself angry letters for his effort, a new Netflix special has received threats of boycott, subscription cancellations, and even a terror attack for depicting Jesus of Nazareth as a homosexual man. In The First Temptation of Christ, Brazilian comedy troupe Porta dos Fundos depict Jesus as celebrating his thirtieth birthday with a pot-smoking Mary and a friend named Orlando on his arm who is implied to be his lover. Religious groups in South America have been upset about the special, and petitioning to have it pulled from Netflix, for weeks.
This week saw a redoubled effort to intimidate Netflix and Porta dos Fundos, though. A "Cancel Netflix" hashtag trended on Twitter for part of this afternoon, and the Rio de Janeiro H.Q. of Porta dos Fundoswas hit by a Molotov cocktail attack in the early hours of yesterday.
As of now, a petition asking the Brazilian authorities to outright ban the special has reached more than 2 million signatures. Variety notes that Pora dos Fundos previously earned an International Emmy for last year's Christmas Special, The Last Hangover, in which his disciples wake up after a Last Supper blow-out, where Thomas contributes hard drugs and prostitutes, to discover Jesus is nowhere to be seen.
In The First Temptation of Christ, Jesus is found sneaking home after his forty days in the desert and discovered by his parents, who are eager to throw him a birthday party. He is embarrassed to have been caught with Orlando, who displays stereotypical characteristics of a flamboyant gay man. While Jesus himself is never explicitly depicted or described as gay, his embarrassment at being caught with Orlando implies that the pair have a relationship.
There are currently at least four suspects in the bombing, one of whom already posted a video to social media with his voice digitally altered. Calling the comedians "Marxist militants," he claimed to be acting on behalf of a group he calls the Command of Popular National Insurgence. The video describes the group as part of Brazil's “integralist” movement, which was inspired by Italian fascism during the 1930s. Such groups were thought to have died out, but the global rise of fascist and nativist movements in recent years makes it difficult to know whether somebody is trying to misdirect authorities, or if such a group may have experienced a resurgence.
The last time Porta dos Fundos made a public statement, Netflix had not suggested to the comedians that there was any plans to remove the special, or any doubts internally about keeping it up.