The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has come under fire from the real-life Satanic Temple. Based on a comic-book of the same name, the Netflix original dropped its entire first season less than a week ago. Created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also served as author of the source material, the show is a far cry from its 1990s family-friendly predecessor. Sacasa also created Riverdale, which, though airing separately on The CW, is frequently referenced on the supernatural series. The show has already garnered favorable reviews for its more macabre take on the teenage witch’s exploits. Bewitching critics and fans alike with its “devilishly fun mix of camp and horror” the series has already been renewed for season 2. Netflix even revealed that new episodes are already being filmed.
Season 1 saw Sabrina Spellman, following her 16th birthday, perpetually torn between her witch and mortal lives. Over the course of the ten episodes, Sabrina was encouraged – and otherwise manipulated – to join the Church of Night. The fictional organization, which features prominently in both the show and the source material, is a cult of witches and warlocks who dedicate themselves to doing the bidding of The Dark Lord, otherwise known as Satan. The concept was exploited to its fullest, blessing the show with much in the way of conflict and dark comedy.
According to The Wrap, however, one aspect of the show has angered members of the actual Satanic Temple. According to the Temple’s co-founder, Lucien Greaves, The Chilling Adventures has “appropriated” the design of a monument of which they claim to hold the copyright. The monument in question is one of Baphomet. The deity first came into prominence in the early 1300s, referenced in trial transcripts associated with The Knight’s Templar. In the world of the show, the statue sits prominently at Sabrina’s witch school, The Academy of Unseen Arts, and depicts The Dark Lord himself. The statue is visible in numerous scenes.
Greaves describes the show as producing what he describes as “asinine Satanic Panic fiction“. He also stated that the Temple intends to take legal action, having already sent a letter through their lawyers to Netflix. It’s unclear whether The Satanic Temple will seek remuneration or merely be content with the removal of the offending monument. As of yet, neither Netflix or the show has responded.
The backlash is sure to be as surprising as it is amusing to many fans of the show. Until now, the biggest complaint The Chilling Adventures has faced is that Salem the Cat no longer speaks. Admittedly, however, the statue on the show is eerily similar to the one Greaves and his congregation unveiled in 2015. The Academy of Unseen Arts is sure to play a bigger role in season 2, given how the show left things at the end of the finale. With season 2, as mentioned, already filming, the issue could prove a tricky one from a production standpoint. Given Greaves’ statement, it’s unlikely a compromise will be reached. As such, the school could potentially undergo a redecoration before the new episodes are released.