The Satanic Temple is suing Netflix and Warner Bros. Entertainment for $150 million for using what temple leaders claim is their “copyrighted” goat-headed statue in a new series.
The suit argues that the temple’s unique version of Baphomet appeared in “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” a reboot of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” that stars Kiernan Shipka in the title role.
The Temple is claiming copyright infringement, trademark violation and injury to business, according to the suit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and seeks damages of $50 million for each claim.
The action appeared to be a serious attack from a temple known more for cheeky antics in lambasting religious hypocrisy and sanctimony. Earlier this year, the Temple’s 9-foot tall, 1-ton bronze statue of Baphomet was displayed in front of the Arkansas State Capitol to protest a Ten Commandments monument that already resides on the grounds.
The Temple, which describes itself as a “nontheistic” religious and political activist group, was offended that Baphomet was presented as a “symbol of evil” in “Sabrina,” according to the suit. The image of Baphomet is used to represent the devil in the streaming series.
But Satan “is a literary figure symbolic of the eternal rebel in opposition, rather than the personalization of evil,” per the Temple. A key tenet of members and supporters of the Temple is that Satanists deserve as much protection and respect as followers of any religion.
The Temple “commissioned … Baphomet … to be a central part of its efforts to promote First Amendment values of separation of church and state and equal protection,” the complaint stated. “Defendants’ prominent use of this symbol … associated with evil, cannibalism and murder blurs and tarnishes” the Temple’s Baphomet.
The suit also emphasized that the entertainment companies “blatantly misappropriated” and “unquestionably copied” its statue. Baphomet was traditionally represented as a figure with female breasts and no children, per the suit. The Temple’s Baphomet statue bears a male chest and features a boy and a girl looking up him; the statue on the show appears to resemble the Temple’s portrayal.
In the TV series, Sabrina is a half-witch, half-mortal girl who must decide on her 16th birthday whether to commit her life to Satan. The show’s version of Satan is decidedly evil — with benefits.
Neither Netflix nor Warner Bros. has yet commented on the suit.