Satanic Temple sues Netflix over 'Sabrina' use of Baphomet deity

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Satanic Temple sued Netflix Inc NFLX.O and Warner Bros Entertainment on Thursday, seeking more than $50 million for their alleged unauthorized use of a statue of the goat-headed deity Baphomet in the series "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina."

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In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court, the plaintiff, whose stated mission includes encouraging benevolence and empathy among people rejecting tyrannical authority, accused the defendants of copyright infringement, trademark violations and injury to its reputation.

Netflix referred a request for comment to Warner Bros, a unit of AT&T Inc T.N. Warner Bros spokesman Paul McGuire said that company does not discuss pending litigation.

According to the complaint, Netflix, which distributes “Sabrina,” and Warner Bros, which produces it, misappropriated the Salem, Massachusetts-based plaintiff’s “Baphomet with Children” in ways implying that it “stands for evil.”

The Satanic Temple, whose formal name is United Federation of Churches LLC, said the statue has appeared in at least four of the first 10 “Sabrina” episodes, which were released on Oct. 26, and was a “key element” of the season finale.

“The unique elements of TST’s expression of the idea of Baphomet, and particularly the use of a male chest rather than voluptuous large female breasts, and the configuration with a small boy and small girl looking at the Sabbatic Goat head of the statue, were unquestionably copied by defendants,” the complaint said.

In its complaint, The Satanic Temple also objected that the evil antagonists in “Sabrina” were depicted in a manner “in stark contrast to TST’s tenets and beliefs.”

The lawsuit also seeks the exclusion or digital removal of the plaintiff’s statue from “Sabrina” episodes.

“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is based on the comic book series with the same name from Archie Comics.

Its main character is a half-witch, half-human teenager portrayed by Kiernan Shipka, who played lead character Don Draper’s daughter Sally in the AMC series “Mad Men.”

The case is United Federation of Churches LLC v Netflix Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-10372.

(This story has been refilled to correct the 4th paragraph, to say plaintiff is based in Salem, Massachusetts, not in Boston)

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Richard Chang