Here’s one dark twist you never saw coming with the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Satanic Temple has hit Netflix and Warner Bros. with a $50 million lawsuit. And it’s all because of a statue.
Last week, the temple cofounder Lucien Greaves threatened legal action, while sharing two photos for comparison—one of the Satanic Temple’s Baphomet deity, and one of a statue used in the Netflix series starring Kiernan Shipka. “Yes, we are taking legal action regarding #TheChillingAdventuresofSabrina appropriating our copyrighted monument design to promote their asinine Satanic Panic fiction,” Greaves wrote on Twitter, before sharing the images.
According to the demand letter sent by Greaves’s legal representative Stuart de Haan, the Sabrina statue is offensive to the Satanic Temple in part because of how much the organization has struggled “to overcome centuries of stigma surrounding their religious symbolism.” “My client has expended considerable efforts in the design and creation of their particular expression of Baphomet, the goat-headed deity represented by this monument,” de Haan writes, per The Hollywood Reporter. “This statue is an original work and, until now, has been associated exclusively with The Satanic Temple all around the world. This has deep religious significance to my client’s organization.”
De Haan added that “The way it is portrayed in ‘Sabrina’ is completely antithetical for what the Temple stands for. It was a copyrighted image and permission was never granted or requested by any media outlet. It is undeniable that this imagery was directly taken from The Satanic Temple rather than other source material.”
In an attempt to find empathy, Greaves resorted to a problematic comparison, tweeting, “I’m amazed that anybody is confused as to why we would seek legal remedy over Sabrina using our monument. Would they be as understanding of a fictional show that used a real mosque as the HQ of a terrorist cell? A fictional Blood Libel tale implicating real world Jews?”
Aside from the $50 million the Satantic Temple is seeking under the assumption that Netflix and Warner Bros. have been profiting off their deity, they are also requesting that the series remove the statue in question from all episodes and offer the reasoning as to how it came to be on the show.