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Satanic Temple threatens to sue Netflix

Satanic Temple co-founder says show ‘appropriated’ the group’s design of a statue, which was copyrighted

Kiernan Shipka in ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’

By Sarah Toy, Reporter — MarketWatch

The Satanic Temple is threatening legal action against Netflix for a statue used in “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” the streaming company’s spin on the story of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

The group is taking issue with a statue of the goat deity Baphomet that appears in the series. The statue bears a striking resemblance to the Satanic Temple’s version.

Lucien Greaves, co-founder of the Satanic Temple, tweeted that the show “appropriated” the group’s copyrighted design of the statue.

“The show decided to use our own central icon, exactly as we designed it, as the central icon for their story’s evil human sacrificing Satanic cult,” he said in a follow-up tweet. He later tweeted a side-by-side comparison of the two statues.

Greaves also took issue with how the statue was used in the show, tweeting: “I’m amazed that anybody is confused as to why we would seek legal remedy over Sabrina using our monument. Would they be as understanding of a fictional show that used a real mosque as the HQ of a terrorist cell? A fictional Blood Libel tale implicating real world Jews?”

In the show, Sabrina (played by Kiernan Shipka, best known to audiences as Sally Draper of “Mad Men”) is a half-witch, half-mortal teenager who needs to decide whether she wants to take the step to become wholly witch by signing “The Book of the Beast.” The problem: Although signing that book would give her powers, it would also tie her to life-long servitude to the “Dark Lord” (also known as the Devil, also known as Satan) and his church, the Church of Night.

The Dark Lord is not a benevolent character in the series; he sends his minions to torture and coerce Sabrina into signing the book, and is head of a decidedly patriarchal church organization that is rife with abuse and corruption. He shows up occasionally in the series as a terrifying beast with a goat’s head and hooves, and is represented by the Baphomet statue, which sits in the center of the show’s Academy of the Unseen Arts.

Stuart de Haan, legal counsel for the Satanic Temple, released a statement to CNN, further clarifying why the Satanic Temple was threatening legal action.

“The reason for this demand is that this particular imagery is unique from any other likeness of Baphomet. It was created by The Satanic Temple to represent its unique interests including empathy, bodily autonomy, and individual liberties,” the statement said.

“The way it is portrayed in ‘Sabrina’ is completely antithetical for what the Temple stands for. It was a copyrighted image and permission was never granted or requested by any media outlet. It is undeniable that this imagery was directly taken from The Satanic Temple rather than other source material.”

The Satanic Temple is a religious organization that adheres to “principles of individual sovereignty and rejection of tyrannical authority,” according to the Temple’s official website. Members do not actually worship Satan. In fact, the Temple rejects all forms of supernaturalism and faith-based belief. The group sees Satan more as a symbol or “icon for the unbowed will of the unsilenced inquirer,” according to the website.

The Temple has been embroiled in other high profile legal battles and controversies, alleging earlier this year that Twitter engaged in religious discrimination when it did not take action against a user who advocated setting fire to the Temple’s headquarters. And in 2016, the group formed the “After School Satan Club” to protest evangelical programs at public schools.

MarketWatch has reached out to Netflix for comment and will update this story upon receiving a response.

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