On Nov. 8, several media outlets reported that the Satanic Temple is suing The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (specifically, Netflix and the show’s production company, Warner Bros.) over a statue that appears at Sabrina’s school. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Satanic Temple has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Netflix and Warner Bros., and the lawsuit documents cited include claims of copyright infringement and defamation. (When asked for comment, Netflix directed Bustle to Warner Bros., who declined to comment on the pending litigation.)
As the lawsuit documents provided by THR detailed, the temple is claiming copyright infringement on the similarity of the look of temple’s Baphomet statue (a goat-headed deity) statue and the lawsuit alleges that the statue is portrayed negatively in the show. The Baphomet statue appears in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s The Academy of Unseen Arts, which Sabrina attends in the series. In Sabrina, Baphomet statue is identical to Satan, who is the villain that the title character faces off against in the series.
Lucien Greaves, a co-founder of the Satanic Temple, called the Baphomet figure the Satanic Temple’s “central icon” in one of his tweets, writing that “having one’s central icon associated with human sacrifice in an evil patriarchal cult is hardly good exposure and hardly a frivolous complaint.”
Yes, we are taking legal action regarding #TheChillingAdventuresofSabrina appropriating our copyrighted monument design to promote their asinine Satanic Panic fiction.
— Lucien Greaves (@LucienGreaves) October 29, 2018
For purposes of comparison… pic.twitter.com/AZJvmq1Cks
— Lucien Greaves (@LucienGreaves) October 30, 2018
Greaves tweeted on Oct. 28 that the temple would be taking “legal action” against Netflix and Warner Bros. Greaves wrote in the tweet:
“Yes, we are taking legal action regarding #TheChillingAdventuresofSabrina appropriating our copyrighted monument design to promote their asinine Satanic Panic fiction.”
Greaves also responded to a number of Twitter users who criticized the temple’s decision to pursue legal action. The temple’s co-founder and spokesperson posted a tweet that compared The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s statue of Baphomet to a statue owned by the Satanic Temple.
“It is unique enough that we already own the copyright,” Greaves wrote in one tweet. “It’s not parody because it makes no acknowledgement of the source. It’s simply theft.” He also shared a photo of the temple’s statue alongside a screenshot from the Netflix series, writing that he was posting the images “for purposes of comparison.”
As Rolling Stone reported last week, the temple’s legal consultant, Stuart de Haan sent a letter to Netflix and Warner Bros. asking the streaming service to take the Baphomet image out of the show. According to Rolling Stone, the letter read:
“By November 9, 2018, please (1) take down any advertisements that features the likeness of the Baphomet monument; (2) take down and refrain from any use of the likeness from the ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ or any other works; and (3) produce an explanation behind the origins of the monument as used in the ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.'”
Greaves also spoke to Rolling Stone about how the Baphomet statue is portrayed in the Netflix series. “Given the show’s utilization of the Baphomet statue to represent an evil cannibalistic cult, a perception falsely associated with Satanism even in modern times, TST would have denied its use to the show creators,”
Greaves told Rolling Stone. “Not only does it contradict what Baphomet represents, we owe it to those who identify with us to not allow this image, and by extension them, to be represented in this way.”
It’s not clear what will happen next between Netflix, Warner Bros., and The Satanic Temple.