UPDATE: Brazil police in Rio de Janeiro are now formally investigating an attack on the headquarters of Porta dos Fundos, the comedy troupe behind the Netflix special The First Temptation of Christ, which many had denounced as blasphemous and previously tried to get pulled from the streaming platform.
According to the Associated Press, authorities are looking into a video posted to social media which sees a man throwing a gasoline bomb at the building and crediting the act to the Command of Popular National Insurgence, a 1930s-era ultranationalist group.
“What remains to be proven is whether there exists a tie between a group and the incident,” detective Marco Aurelio de Paula Ribeiro told reporters, as quoted by the AP. “We are going to find those responsible as fast as possible, also to prevent any future actions that this group may be planning,” added senior police official Fabio Barucke.
EARLIER: Following backlash and anger from certain members of the Christian faith over a Netflix comedy special featuring a gay Jesus, the headquarters of Brazilian YouTube comedy troupe Porta dos Fundos came under attack on Christmas Eve when it was hit by Molotov cocktails.
A statement was released by Porta dos Fundos (which translates as “Back Door” in English) on social media following the attack. “One of the security guards managed to control the fire… and was not injured, even though the action endangered several innocent lives in the company and on the street,” it read. “Porta dos Fundos condemns any act of violence and have made the security camera images available to the authorities and expect those responsible for the attacks to be found and punished. However, our priority right now is the safety of the entire team that works with us.”
“Once we have more details, we will speak again,” the statement continues. “But for now, we anticipate that we will move on, more united, stronger, more inspired, and confident that the country will survive this storm of hatred, and love will prevail along with freedom of speech.”
A rep for Netflix told EW the company does not have a comment at this time.
The First Temptation of Christ premiered on Netflix on Dec. 3 and featured a comic story about Jesus returning from the desert after 40 days. When Mary and Joseph throw him a surprise 30th birthday, he’s forced to introduce his flamboyant male “friend.”
A petition quickly began circling online that implored Netflix to pull the special and Porta dos Fundos to apologize. It currently has more than 2.33 million signatures. Various Christian groups in Brazil, as well as the son of Brazil’s president, condemned the special, but this marks the first act of physical violence against the creators amid the controversy.
Porta dos Fundos won an international Emmy for their 2018 comedy special, The Last Hangover, which involved Jesus’ disciples waking up after a bender of drugs, drinking, and prostitutes to find no trace of their savior.
The troupe said in an earlier statement that they value “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.”