A Satanic Group Is Accusing Netflix of Appropriating Its Goat-Man Sculpture in ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
Just in time for Halloween, the co-founder of the Satanic Temple is threatening to sue Netflix.
As far as legal battles go, this one is about as seasonal as they come.
Just in time for Halloween, the co-founder and spokesman for the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, is threatening legal action against Netflix for featuring a statue that appears nearly identical to one it commissioned in 2014 in its new series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Brooklyn-based artist Mark Porter depicted the goat-man deity Baphomet, the pagan idol that the Knights of Templar were accused of worshiping, sitting in a throne before two admiring children. The Satanic Temple commissioned the work as a response to a statue of the Ten Commandments erected on the site of the Oklahoma State Capitol in 2012, which the Temple says is a violation of the separation of church and state.
“Yes, we are taking legal action regarding #TheChillingAdventuresofSabrina appropriating our copyrighted monument design to promote their asinine Satanic Panic fiction,” Greaves tweeted a few days ago. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Greaves told TheWrap that his lawyers had sent a letter to Netflix accusing them of copyright violation and “asking them to take our imagery out of their show.”
Greaves has said that he also finds the show’s use of Baphomet “deeply problematic, as he told the San Francisco Chronicle, because it portrays the deity as “evil,” which could have a negative impact on the public’s perception of the Satanic Temple. “I feel that the use of our particular image that is recognized as our own central icon [being] displayed fictionally as central to some cannibalistic cult has real world damaging effects for us,” he said.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Satanic Temple’s mission, according to its website, is to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.”
The Netflix website features an image of a Baphomet statue, which “looks like it’s a CGI facsimile,” Greaves told the Chronicle. “I simply refuse to have our monument used in this way in perpetuity. I don’t want our monument to be associated with this.”
The odds could be in Greaves’s favor. “I think it’s a pretty straightforward infringement case, and if they want they can shut them down,” attorney Sam P. Israel, a specialist in art law and intellectual property, told artnet News. “The owner of the copyright could work out some kind of licensing agreement. But if they really don’t want them to use it, Netflix is going to have to redo what they shot, and they’ve made a big investment. You could go into court on this with an order to show cause or a temporary restraining order request. If they get a preliminary injunction, that would shut the show down.”
The artist raised funds to make Baphomet with a 2014 Indiegogo campaign that generated 50 percent more than its original $20,000 target. When the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Ten Commandments monument had to be removed from the state’s Capitol building in 2015, the Satanic Temple said that it would find a different home for its own monument.
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