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Netflix facing backlash over comedy special with gay Jesus

"The First Temptation of Christ," a Brazilian Netflix Christmas comedy special, portrays a gay Jesus and a weed-smoking Mary.
Image: Netflix's \"The First Temptation of Christ,\" a Christmas comedy special that portrays a gay Jesus,
Netflix's "The First Temptation of Christ," a Christmas comedy special that portrays a gay Jesus,Netflix

LOS ANGELES — "The First Temptation of Christ" — a Netflix Christmas comedy special that portrays a gay Jesus and a weed-smoking Mary — has sparked a petition demanding that it be pulled as offensive to Christians.

"The First Temptation of Christ" was created by the Brazilian YouTube comedy group Porta dos Fundos. The 46-minute satirical special tracks Jesus' coming home to his surprise birthday party with Orlando, his openly flamboyant friend. Despite Jesus' attempts to conceal his friend, Orlando joins the party later and sings a quirky holiday bop that includes the lyrics "In the heat of the desert I saw the size of his huge power."

More than 1.8 million people have signed the petition, which calls for the special to be prohibited and pulled from Netflix and for Porta dos Fundos to apologize. Viewers have accused Porta dos Fundos of religious discrimination and "derision and disrespect for the faith of the Catholic Church and especially for God."

Marco Feliciano, a conservative evangelical pastor who is president of the Brazilian Legislature's Commission on Human Rights and Minorities, tweeted his disdain for the special.

"Christians and non-Christians have asked me to take action against the irresponsible members of Porta dos Fundo. It's time we took a collective action — churches and all good people — to put an end to this," the tweet reads in English.

The petition had yet to reach its goal of 3 million signatures by Monday afternoon.

One commenter — who claimed to cancel their Netflix subscription entirely in protest — wrote: "No one is obliged to believe in Jesus Christ, but we demand respect for our beliefs. Whoever disrespects my God does not deserve my money."

Henrique Soares da Costa, the Catholic bishop of Palmares, called for Christians to cancel their Netflix subscriptions.

Porta dos Fundos, which has more than 16 million YouTube subscribers, hasn't been fazed by the criticism. Instead, it tweeted out a second petition calling the special "tragic" and "sad."

"Porta dos Fundos values artistic freedom and humor through satire on the most diverse cultural themes of our society and believes that freedom of expression is an essential construction for a democratic country," the group, which has produced religious satires for years, said in a statement.

The group's last Christmas special, "The Last Hangover," won the International Emmy Award for best comedy web television special.

"The First Temptation of Christ" is still available to stream on Netflix.

Netflix didn't immediately respond to Variety's request for comment.

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