The Satanic Temple sued Netflix and Warner Bros Entertainment on Thursday, seeking more than $50 million (GBP 38.3 million) for their alleged unauthorised use of a statue of the goat-headed deity Baphomet in the series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
In a complaint filed with the US 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. 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 October 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 et al, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-10372.