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One of the most controversial Netflix originals ever is about to be pulled from the streamer’s catalog

Updated Sep 30th, 2021 6:16AM EDT
Netflix movies leaving soon
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After the end of this month, one of the most controversial and sacrilegious Netflix originals of all time is finally set to leave the streamer. Among the Netflix movies leaving soon is The First Temptation of Christ. The title of which is, of course, a play on the title of Martin Scorsese’s 1988 drama The Last Temptation of Christ, starring Willem Dafoe and Harvey Keitel. Unlike that one, however, this project is a Brazilian film from the comedy group Porta dos Fundos. And, because of the subject matter, it caused a massive firestorm of controversy. Both for the creators as well as for Netflix itself.

Netflix movies leaving soon

Here’s the official description from Netflix that you see when you open the movie’s title page. “Jesus, who’s hitting the big 3-0, brings a surprise guest to meet the family. A Christmas special so wrong, it must be from comedians Porta dos Fundos.”

What that description leaves out? That this comedy special pretends Jesus was gay and comes out to his parents at a party. And that at that party is where he learns his true, holy origin. This led, among other things, to attacks on the headquarters of the Brazil comedy group. Some of their homes were also reportedly attacked with Molotov cocktails.

Additionally, more than 240,000 people signed this petition calling on Netflix to remove the special. “This mockery of Jesus should not be deemed as satire but an intentional attempt to attack the fundamental beliefs that uphold the Christian faith,” the petition reads. “It is anti-Christ in every sense of the word.”

As we said, though, this project is one of the many Netflix movies leaving the streamer soon. So it seems as though the push-back might have had the intended effect.

Fierce backlash

Indeed, the outcry generated was unlike almost anything else that’s ever been shown on the streamer. The BBC reported at the end of 2019 that police in Rio de Janeiro were investigating the Molotov cocktail attack on the Porta dos Fundos headquarters. And that a far-right group circulated a video online, in which members wore ski masks and claimed responsibility for the attack. Digitally hiding their voices in the video, they slammed Netflix as promoting blasphemy.

Meanwhile, with this controversial project set to join other Netflix movies leaving soon, we can’t help but point out one pending Netflix decision that all this also calls to mind.

It seems particularly striking that Netflix is dragging its feet regarding a decision about whether to resurrect the canceled NBC drama Manifest. You know, that one with themes of faith and belief at its core. And the existing seasons of which utterly dominated the Netflix Top 10 rankings for something like a straight month. No one is going to be lobbing firebombs over giving a renewal to this one, Netflix. And your own charts have already proven that there’s a seriously massive audience for it (even Stephen King is a fan). Just saying.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.