Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina faces a lawsuit from The Satanic Temple over its depiction of the figure Baphomet on the series. The Satanic Temple believes that Netflix has not only stolen the design for its Baphomet statue but also uses the stolen design to cast the deity in a negative light.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the comic book series of the same name, follows a teenage girl who is half-mortal and half-witch. In the series, Sabrina must walk the delicate line that separates the witch world, which worships Satan, from the mortal world to keep her two universes separate. She eventually goes to The Academy of Unseen Arts, a school for witches and warlocks. The school’s main hall features a statue of Baphomet, a deity with a goat’s head. This figure turns up several times in the series, and it is this sculpture that is a source of contention with The Satanic Temple.
According to THR, the Satanic Temple recently filed a lawsuit for $50 million against Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their use of the figure on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The lawsuit cites that the Netflix series has infringed upon its copyright because the statue is so similar to one the Temple had designed explicitly for itself. The suit also claims that the use of the figure on the series miseducates viewers on the history and meaning of Baphomet. The complaint reads:
“Baphomet is a historical deity which has a complex history, having been associated with accusations of devil worship against the Knight Templar. 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…”
The Satanic Temple previously announced its anger at Netflix over the streaming service’s use of the Baphomet statue on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, calling it “asinine Satanic Panic fiction.” The Temple is not just concerned with copyright infringement, but also with how the statue seems to represent evil on the Netflix series. The organization states that its design of Baphomet was “to be a central part of its efforts to promote First Amendment values of separation of church and state and equal protection,” something the organization feels is not in line with how Netflix portrays the figure.
In addition to $50 million, The Temple also requests that Netflix not reproduce or distribute any more episodes of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina with the statue appearing in its scenes. This request would imply that the organization expects Netflix to digitally remove the figure from those scenes, as well as remove it from any upcoming scenes. Considering that Netflix has already begun filming season 2, this could cause a headache for the streaming subscription service provider that goes beyond money.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 1 is currently available to stream on Netflix.