Rio de Janeiro police said on Thursday they are investigating a video by a far-right group that claimed to have carried out an attack on a group of actors who had depicted Jesus as gay.
On Wednesday, a video circulating on social media showed three masked men claiming to have carried out the attack in retaliation for “an attack against the Brazilian people’s faith.” The two-minute video included images of several people lighting Molotov cocktails before throwing them at a building.
The attack, in which no one was hurt, took place Tuesday night at the studio of a group of actors called Porta dos Fundos, whose 46-minute film “Christ’s First Temptation” began streaming on Netflix on December 3. The satirical comedy depicts Jesus returning home with his boyfriend Orlando after 40 days in the desert, as Mary and Joseph plan a surprise party for Jesus’s 30th birthday.
It has angered many evangelicals and Catholics, and hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition to have it taken down. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo — a lawmaker — criticized the movie on Twitter. “We believe in freedom of expression but is it really worth attacking the faith of 86 per cent of the population?” he wrote.
The masked men in the video held up a flag of the 19th-century Empire of Brazil and another sporting a symbol linked to the 1930s far-right political party Brazilian Integralist Action.
“All hypotheses are being investigated,” police commissioner Marco Aurelio Ribeiro told journalists. Police have identified the registration numbers of a vehicle and motorcycle used by the attackers and said the masked group’s video “matches” the crime committed. Actor Joao Vicente de Castro, a member of Porta dos Fundos, told journalists the incident was “an attack on freedom of expression.” Porta dos Fundos, which was founded in 2012, won an International Emmy this year for their 2018 comedy Christmas special, “The Last Hangover,” also available on Netflix.