Fábio Porchat one of the creators and actor in “The First Temptation of Christ” a Netflix Christmas special which depicts Jesus as gay has reacted to the backlash against the film which he termed as “homophobic”.
“The First Temptation of Christ” was created by Brazilian YouTube comedy group Porta dos Fundos and it has prompted widespread anger in Brazil with almost two million people signing a petition calling on the streaming service to remove the show.
In an interview with Variety on Monday, Porchat said it is homophobic to be offended by the film.
“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.”
The film starts with Jesus who just turned 30, returning after 40 days in the desert with a new close friend, Orlando (played by Porchat), who is almost certainly gay, just as his family throws Jesus a surprise 30th birthday party.
The 46-minute holiday special is steep in satire – it features a very human God, whom Jesus still thinks at the beginning of the show to be his Uncle Vittorio. God claims he is still sexually attracted to Mary. Mary is caught by God smoking marijuana, and Joseph is rabidly jealous of God. One of the Wise Men brings a prostitute to the party.
However, what protesters find infuriating is the suggestion that the Jesus of the Special could be gay.
Porchat maintains that that isn’t even totally clear.
“We play at insinuating that Jesus has a new friend, and probably this new friend is gay, but they have just been having fun and a very good time in the desert for 40 days.”
“If anybody should be angry with us, it should be the gay community because a gay character turns out to be the Devil. But the gay community loves us!” Porchat said.
The Special makes no claims to historical accuracy whatsoever, piling on anachronisms, such as when God upstages poor Joseph who offers Jesus a wooden flute as a birthday present. God proceeds to unveil an electronic keyboard and offer to teach Jesus Beatles songs.
Jesus, for Porchat, comes out of the show very well:
“The show is almost a Christian fairy tale: Jesus faces off bravely with the Devil and then chooses to follow God, accepting to be his son, Jesus Christ.
“A lot of people, when they see the show, say: ‘Oh that’s what they were talking about? Ok, that’s O.K., they’re just having fun, no problem at all.’
“It doesn’t incite violence, we’re not saying people shouldn’t believe in God.”
Amidst the outcry against the film, a number of people voiced their concern on how the tolerance of Christianity and how such a film would never have seen the light of the day if Islam was the target.
“People say that we don’t make fun of Islam,” said Porchat. “We do, we’ve satirized terrorists, for example. But they are trying to incite other people to violence, which for Catholics is a very un-Catholic thing to do.”
Porchat told Variety Monday that Netflix and Viacom, which took a majority stake in Porta dos Fundos in 2017, are standing by the special.
“They [Netflix] haven’t said anything to us like, ‘Maybe we should stop making the special available.’ They support freedom of speech.”
Meanwhile, Nigerian pastor Apostle Johnson Suleman has condemned the film which he termed an “insult to Christianity” and consequently asked his followers to delete their Netflix app.