Entertainment

More Than A Million People Have Signed A Petition Demanding Netflix Take Down Show Depicting Jesus As A Gay Man

A new Brazilian comedy entitled The First Temptation of Christ debuted on Netflix this month. Now 1.8 million people have signed a petition to have the special removed. President Jair Bolsonaro’s son, the National Conference of Bishops in Brazil, and other religious affiliates have even chimed in to condemn the satire.

The 46-minute film portrays Jesus in a same-sex relationship with his friend Orlando. The movie was made by the International Emmy Award-winning YouTube comedy group Porta dos Fundos or Back Door. In the satire, Jesus must introduce Mary and Joseph to his boyfriend Orlando at his 30th birthday party. 

Viewers are furious that Jesus is depicted as gay in The First Temptation of Christ

“Good afternoon to everybody except Netflix for making a Christmas movie about a gay Jesus (yes, seriously),” an angry Twitter user wrote. 

Over 1.8 million people have signed a Change.org petition to have the film removed from Netflix. The special is Porta dos Fundos’ second satirical look at the life of Jesus and many viewers are fuming. The petition described the comedy troupe’s faith as “villainous.” 

“Horrible! Disappointed with Netflix and Porta dos Fundos!!! Now it’s on to Amazon Prime!!!” Someone commented on YouTube. “Whoever disrespects my God does not deserve my money,” another viewer said. 

A bishop from Pernambuco, Henrique Soares da Costa complained on Facebook that he was canceling his service and called the movie “blasphemous, vulgar, and disrespectful.” 

“In favor of banning the Christmas movie from the “Porta dos Fundos” (“Back Door”) which is titled “The First Temptation of Christ,” the petition description reads. “In favor of the removal of the film from the NETFLIX catalog and for the Porta Dos Fundos to be held responsible for the crime of villainous faith. We also want public retraction, as they have seriously offended Christians.”

However, while the Change.org petition is the largest, it wasn’t the only one. A CitizenGo petition garnered 240,000 signatures and claims The First Temptation of Christ is a “clear attack to Christianity.” 

“It is an absolutely unacceptable provocation,” the CitizenGo petition said. “No one has the right to attack the faith of millions of people around the world. This type of supposed ‘shows’ only cause one thing: numbing the population to attacks against Christians.”

Brazilian politicians and officials speak out against the film.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo lambasted the film on Twitter. Like most members of the right-wing, Eduardo somehow managed to connect the incident to Karl Marx. 

“We support freedom of expression, but is it worth attacking the belief of 86% of the population?” Eduardo wrote, later adding. “Not satisfied with interpreting Jesus Christ as gay and refusing to speak of God on Netflix, now @gduvivier went beyond. Wrote an article in @folha posing as Jesus, portraying the son of God again as gay and advocate of Karl Marx and having the reader ‘take it in the a**’.”

 If Porta dos Fundos were trying to create controversy, they certainly got their wish. Other members of the Brazilian right expressed their disapproval of the film on social media and in press releases.

“Christians and non-Christians have asked me to take action against the irresponsible members of Porta dos Fundo,” the far-right, anti-LGBTQ Brazilian pastor and congressman from São Paulo Marco Feliciano said on Twitter. “It’s time we took a collective action — churches and all good people — to put an end to this.” 

The National of Conference of Bishops in Brazil released a statement saying the special vilifies Christianity.  

“Nothing allows anyone the right to vilify people’s deeply held beliefs. The right to freedom of expression does not nullify respect for people and their values,” the statement read

Porta dos Fundos releases a statement amidst the controversy. 

“Enquanto tá rolando abaixo assinado contra, a gente comemora o sucesso de mais uma criação de Deus: nosso Especial de Natal @NetflixBrasil ‘A Primeira Tentação de Cristo’ continua cada vez mais poderosíssimo,” Porta dos Fundo said in Portuguese. 

The comedians have continued to mock the polarizing response on Twitter, even dropping a link to the petition against them to anyone who wants to join. 

“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 comedy group said in a statement to the Daily News

The group snagged their first International Emmy Award for best comedy web television special for a different film making light of Christianity called The Last Hangover. The comedy portrays Jesus’ disciples looking for after a drunken Last Supper. The first film did not receive the same backlash despite its blasphemous imagery and themes, but Jesus wasn’t queer in that film. 

Walter Mercado Was An Iconic Astrologer And A Gender Nonconforming Legend And Now There’s A Documentary About Him Coming To Netflix

Entertainment

Walter Mercado Was An Iconic Astrologer And A Gender Nonconforming Legend And Now There’s A Documentary About Him Coming To Netflix

Waltermercadotv/ Instagram

Walter Mercado was a source of wisdom. His horoscopes eased many Latinxs into New Years, months and days full of new possibilities and opportunities. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers, Walter was a celebrated daily part of Latino culture—until last November, when he sadly passed away. But his legacy lives on, and this year, he’s getting his own Netflix documentary. Here’s everything we know so far about “Mucho Mucho Amor.”

Late television personality and astrologer Walter Mercado is the subject of a Netflix documentary.

Extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming legend Walter Mercado charmed the world for over 30 years with his televised horoscopes. And this summer, a the feature-length documentary based on the life and work of the iconic astrologer, “Mucho Mucho Amor” will stream on Netflix. And it’s scheduled to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film was selected to premiere at the 2020 Sundance Festival.

The independent-film festival announced its lineup earlier this month, and Miami is well represented among the 118 films selected. Although Mucho Mucho Amor might seem timely in light of the astrologer’s passing in November, Tabsch and his codirector and coproducer — Cristina Constantini and Alex Fumero — have been working on it for more than two years.

The film explores Walter’s complex story.

“Mucho Mucho Amor”, follows Mercado’s story, from the rural sugarcane fields of Puerto Rico to international astrology superstardom, rising above homophobia and the heteronormative beliefs of the Latino society with a message of love and hope. “If you think about the way he came on television, starting from 50 years ago,” said one of the film’s directors, Kareem Tabsch in an interview with WLRN, “he blended gender expressions — the masculine with the feminine on Latino television, which is very macho-centric.”

The film was directed by two Latinx co-directors.

Kareem Tabsch and Cristina Costantini (Science Fair, Festival Favorite Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival) both set out to create “Mucho Mucho Amor” as a love letter to Walter Mercado.  “He was uniquely his own. In a very macho Latino culture, he presented his nonbinary gender expression, and it was so brave,” Tabsch said to Miami New Times.

“Mucho Mucho Amor” unpicks how Walter Mercado became an icon of gender-fluidity for an entire generation.

The filmmakers, who grew up watching him with their abuelitos, craft a film with levity and a playful spirit. Light-years ahead of his time, Walter has become a nostalgic cult icon of self-expression and positivity for the gender-fluid youth of today.

And indeed, Walter Mercado induces millennial Latinos into deep nostalgia.

For Latino audiences, Mercado also represents a form of warm nostalgia. “You think of Walter today, and so many of us think of our abuelitas,” the Cuban-American filmmaker says in an interview with Miami New Times. “The memory takes us back to childhood. It takes us back to sitting with our grandparents. In making this film, we realized that was a universal experience [for Latinos].”

The director also spoke about the significance of premiering their film at Sundance.

The fact that an international film festival of Sundance’s prominence has recognized a film such as Mucho Mucho Amor is an important win for not only Tabsch and his team but also Latino culture. “It’s a huge recognition not just for Miami film, but for film created by, for, and about Latinos,” Tabsch says. “We’re telling our own stories.”

The film premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24 and runs through January 31. It will be available on Netflix this summer.

Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

Things That Matter

Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

Ben Wassenhatch / Flickr

Seven Republican lawmakers in Florida filed four anti-LGBTQ bills hours before the deadline for the upcoming legislative session this week. The bills undo many of the protections that exist for LGBTQ Florida residents. The four bills would repeal county and municipal ordinances for LGBTQ workers, legalize gay conversion therapy, and ban transgender healthcare for children, according to NBC News. 

The homophobic and transphobic legislation was introduced by representatives Anthony Sabatini, Bob Rommel, Michael Grant, and Byron Donalds, along with Senators Joe Gruters and Keith Perry. Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, and other advocates are now fighting against the bills’ passing. 

Advocates respond to the bill calling it “discrimination and hate.”

“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state’s incredible diversity,” Jones said in a statement. “Just as I’ve done since I was elected in 2012, I will continue to fight any legislation that marginalizes or threatens any Floridian’s shot at a secure, safe, and bright quality of life.”

Jones also accused Florida Republicans of, “wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives.” 

Equality Florida released a statement highlighting many of the consequences such a bill would have. 

“This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida Legislature in recent memory,” Jon Harris Maurer, the group’s public policy director, said. “It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections.”

Senator Gruters defends the bill, claiming it “includes protections.”

“The bill certainly does not authorize an employer to discriminate against employees who are members of protected classes, whether protected by federal or state law or local ordinance,” Gruters told NBC News via email.  “While I do not believe the bill has any impact on local anti-discrimination ordinances, in an abundance of caution, I included language in the bill’s preamble to make clear that the preemption would not affect local anti-discrimination laws, and any court would interpret the preemption consistent with that preamble.” 

While Gruters claims it would include protections, Joe Saunders, senior political director at Equality Florida, claims that these so-called protections are merely a part of the bill’s preamble and would carry no weight should the bills become law. 

“We appreciate that Sen. Gruters put that in,” Saunders said. “It’s not policy; it’s not considered part of the bill.”

Democratic senator Lori Berman suggested the bill was nothing more than a political stunt to garner votes from homophobic and transphobic constituents. 

“I’m disappointed to see some of my colleagues proposing this regressive and discriminatory anti-LGBT agenda,” Berman wrote on Twitter. “What benefit to the public does this legislation actually serve, apart from tossing red meat to a political base in an election season?” 

Trans children are particularly vulnerable to the policies. 

“Transgender youth are some of the most at risk in our community,” Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality, told NBC News. “It is outrageous that conservative legislators would threaten their health and safety. Medical professionals, not politicians, should decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient. Forcing a doctor to deny best practice medical care and deny support to transgender youth can be life-threatening.”

Making it illegal for doctors to provide necessary care to trans children certainly goes against the Hippocratic oath, but if you think something so dystopian can’t happen just look at how Republicans have slowly chipped away at abortion rights – another form of necessary care that can be life-saving. 

Just yesterday South Dakora Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would also ban doctors from performing gender-affirming surgeries or treatments on children. Similar bills have been filed in Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky. 

According to the Associated Press, “The Endocrine Society, which is the leading professional organization for doctors who specialize in hormones, does not recommend gender-transition medical treatment before puberty for children who do not identify with their biological gender. For youths experiencing puberty and older adolescents, the Endocrine Society recommends that a team composed of expert medical professionals and mental health professionals manages treatment.”

Opponents of these anti-trans bills believe the laws interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and contradict the widely accepted practices of the medical community. 

“Sadly, the medical care of transgender youth has been sensationalized and politicized,” Jack Turban, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, told NBC News. “Gender-affirming medical care for transgender adolescents is endorsed by major medical organizations, including the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. It should go without saying, but providing standard medical care should not be a felony.”