At the center of the controversy is Baphomet, described in the court documents as “an androgynous goat-headed deity.” A statue of the satanic god surrounded by children is featured in the Netflix series “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”
However, the lawsuit claims the shows statue is similar to its real-life Baphomet monument, which was made famous by an Indiegogo campaign in 2014. Although it was intended to be installed next to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol, it now resides in Detroit after multiple protests. The Baphomet statue has since become “a central icon that has come to represent us [satanists] as a people,” explained The Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves.
“To have that all at once entirely eclipsed by some Netflix show by a production department who did a Google Image Search… A lot of people who havent heard of us first stand to just recognize that monument as the Sabrina monument, which dilutes and denigrates the entire project,” he said.
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Because the statue is featured prominently in the show, The Satanic Temple claims its members are being associated with the “evil antagonists” depicted in the series. The characters of the show, who worship the “Dark Lord” or Satan, engage in cannibalism, necromancy, murder and torture, among other nefarious activities.
The Satanic Temple, on the other hand, “does not promote evil and instead holds to the basic principle that undue suffering is bad, and that which reduces suffering is good,” the organization claims. It hails Satan as a “rebel against Gods authority, rather than an evil being.”
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Satanic Temple Sues Netflix Over Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Statue
The religious group reached out to Netflix and Warner Bros. to remove the depiction when it became aware of the statue in the series, but its request went unanswered.
“It does really kind of normalize this notion that the only true meaning of this type of religious identification is one that can be associated with a patriarchal, cannibalistic cult,” Greaves said. “Were so inundated with this anti-Satan fiction that a lot of people think its superfluous to pursue to a claim like this at all.”
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“The unique elements of TSTs expression of the idea of Baphomet, and particularly the use of a male chest rather than voluptuous large female breasts, and the configuration with a small boy and small girl looking at the Sabbatic Goat head of the statue, were unquestionably copied by defendants,” the complaint said.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a series produced by Warner Bros., follows Sabrina Spellman as she attends The Academy of Unseen Arts. At the school is a statue of Baphomet.
"Baphomet is a historical deity which has a complex history, having been associated with accusations of devil worship against the Knight Templar," explains The Satanic Temple in its complaint filed in New York federal court. "Baphomet historically involved a goat’s head (sometimes known as the 'Sabbatic Goat') on a female body associated with Lilith, a figure from Jewish mysticism sometimes considered a goddess of the night. The classic visual representation of idea of Baphomet is an image created in or about 1856 by an occult historian Eliphas Levi…"
Its version of Baphomet, to quote one random website cited in the complaint, is the "most politically charged sculpture of our time," perhaps meaning that this case can't be divorced from politics after all.
Perhaps ironically, The Satanic Temple states it designed and commissioned its Baphomet "to be a central part of its efforts to promote First Amendment values of separation of church and state and equal protection," adding that the Netflix series' "prominent use of this symbol as the central focal point of the school associated with evil, cannibalism and murder blurs and tarnishes the TST Baphomet with Children as a mark of TST."
The Satanic Temple wants more than money. The church also requests an order enjoining Netflix and Warner Bros. from any future reproduction or distribution of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina with its Baphomet.
The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina is a supernatural drama programme starring US actress Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina Spellman, a half-mortal half-witch who is torn between her two identities.