The Satanic Temple filed suit against Netflix Inc. NFLX, -2.58% and AT&T Inc.-owned T, -0.66% Warner Bros. Entertainment on Thursday over the use of a statue of Baphomet in the series “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”
The Temple is claiming copyright infringement, trademark violation and injury to business, according to court documents filed Thursday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The group is seeking damages of at least $50 million, claiming Netflix and Warner Bros. “blatantly misappropriated” its design of the goat deity Baphomet in their “Sabrina” remake. The Temple’s copyrighted version features a being with a goat’s head and male chest, with two children by its side. It’s a depiction the group says is a departure from other historical versions, which depict Baphomet with breasts and without children.
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The Baphomet statue from “Sabrina” was “unquestionably copied,” the suit alleges, noting the show version also features a male chest with two children alongside.
The suit also alleges the show has made the group’s statue a “symbol of evil,” and the association has injured and continues to injure the Temple.
For the group, Satan “is a literary figure symbolic of the eternal rebel in opposition, rather than the personalization of evil,” the Temple said.
In the show, Sabrina (played by Kiernan Shipka, best known to audiences as Sally Draper of “Mad Men”) is a half-witch, half-mortal teenager who needs to decide whether she wants to take the step to become wholly witch by signing “The Book of the Beast.” The problem: Although signing the book would give her powers, it would also tie her to lifelong servitude to Satan and his church, the Church of Night.
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Associated with corruption, misogyny and cannablism, Satan is decidedly evil in the show. He sends his minions to torture and coerce Sabrina into signing the book, and is head of a patriarchal church organization that is rife with abuse. He shows up occasionally in the series as a terrifying beast with a goat’s head and hooves, and is represented by the Baphomet statue, which sits in the center of the show’s Academy of the Unseen Arts, a school of witches and warlocks.
Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves first threatened legal action over “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” last week. He also tweeted a side-by-side comparison of the Baphomet statues in question.
For purposes of comparison… pic.twitter.com/AZJvmq1Cks
— Lucien Greaves (@LucienGreaves) October 30, 2018
Warner Bros. declined to comment on the lawsuit. Representatives for Netflix did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.
Netflix shares were down 2.7% Thursday, but have gained 66% in 2018, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.54% has gained 4.7% and the Dow Jones industrial Average DJIA, -0.27% has gained 5.7%.