A Satanist group has brought a $50 million (around £38 million) lawsuit against Netflix and Warner Bros over the depiction of the goat-headed deity Baphomet on the new series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
In the show, a dark re-telling of 90s series Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and the comics on which its based, Mad Men actress Kiernan Shipka attends The Academy of Unseen Arts, in which there is a statue of the Baphomet.
But the Satanic Temple are objecting to its use in the show, reckoning that it infringes its copyright of the creature, and also portrays Baphomet in an unflattering manner.
It’s now filed a suit with the New York Federal Court.
“Baphomet is a historical deity which has a complex history, having been associated with accusations of devil worship against the Knight Templar,” reads the complaint.
“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.
“What makes this case particularly striking and significant is that it arises in the context of Defendants who are highly sophisticated media production and distribution companies which blatantly misappropriated Plaintiff’s unique expression of an idea even though they have a long history of vigorously protecting their own intellectual property.”
For purposes of comparison… pic.twitter.com/AZJvmq1Cks
— Lucien Greaves (@LucienGreaves) October 30, 2018
Satanic Temple founder Lucien Greaves told CNBC: “A lot of people who haven’t heard of us first stand to just recognise that monument as the Sabrina monument, which dilutes and denigrates the entire project.
“It does really kind of normalise this notion that the only true meaning of this type of religious identification is one that can be associated with a patriarchal, cannibalistic cult.
“We’re so inundated with this anti-Satan fiction that a lot of people think it’s superfluous to pursue to a claim like this at all.”
The statue in the show, it’s claimed, has caused injury of reputation.
The group goes on to say that it does not worship Satan, but exists to ‘encourage benevolence and empathy among all people’.
Neither Warner Bros or Netflix has commented on the case.