An online petition protesting a Netflix Christmas special that portrays Jesus Christ as a gay man has reached two million signatures, putting pressure on the streamer to pull the show.
The First Temptation of Christ depicts a thirty-ish Jesus bringing his boyfriend home to meet Mary and Joseph. The Portuguese-language special, which debuted worldwide on Netflix earlier this month, comes from the Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos (literally, “Back Door”).
The petition is demanding that Netflix retract the 46-minute show and that its makers be held responsible for committing a “crime” against the faith.
“Respect is the last thing they are thinking about, every Christian should denounce this film, it is blasphemy against the Son of God who suffered & died even for all who deny that He is Lord of the Universe,” said Bishop Joseph Strickland in a tweet Sunday.
Strickland later said that he had cancelled his Netflix subscription.
“Dear America Podcast” host Graham Allen also condemned the show, saying: “Jesus isn’t some ‘woke’ culture experiment for you to convince young people that biblical teachings are ‘debatable’?!”
Netflix offers a wide array of progressive and left-leaning content, including shows from its high-profile production deal with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice currently sits on Netflix’s board of directors.
Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos is a close friend of the Obamas’ and was an active fundraiser for the former president’s campaign.
The First Temptation of Christ also portrays the Virgin Mary as a marijuana smoker. Netflix backed the comedy group’s last religious send up, The Last Hangover, which satirized the last supper. Fábio Porchat, the star of the Netflix Christmas comedy special told Variety that the backlash to the film is “homophobic.”
The online petition is seeking a total of 3 million signatures.