British Columbia

Satanic Temple settles lawsuit over use of goat-headed statue in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Warner Brothers says it's settled a copyright lawsuit filed by the Satanic Temple over a contentious goat-headed statue that's at the heart of many scenes in the series filmed in Metro Vancouver.

Temple says haters accused it of being a 'powerful Satanic organization bullying a teenaged witch'

Baphomet, depicted here in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is a goat-headed, winged deity. (Netflix/Warner Bros)

Warner Brothers says it's settled a copyright lawsuit filed by the Satanic Temple over a contentious goat-headed statue that's at the heart of many scenes in the series filmed in Metro Vancouver.

The Satanic Temple confirmed the lawsuit was "amicably settled."

The statue, a likeness of Baphomet, appears in a Netflix series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which features B.C. in many misty backdrops.

No details of the settlement were shared because of a confidentiality agreement.

But temple co-founder Lucien Greaves wrote that the statue would be acknowledged in the credits of Sabrina episodes Netflix aired before the lawsuit.

A bronze statue of Baphomet at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Mass. (Ted Siefer/Reuters)

The Salem Massachusetts based temple alleged that the statue of the goat-headed deity was a copy of a statue that stands almost three metres tall in its temple building not far from Boston.

It demanded $50-million for copyright infringement and claimed the Netflix series not only ripped off its artwork but portrayed the deity as evil, when it's meant to be a symbol of freedom from oppression.

The temple bills itself as a non-theistic religious and political activist group that uses imagery to promote egalitarianism, social justice and the separation of church and state "to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people." 

After the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of New York, Greaves said there was a significant backlash.

"I have gotten quite a bit of hate mail from people seemingly base enough to conceive of the situation as one in which a large powerful Satanic organization is using its might to bully an uncertain and innocent teenage witch who has just been newly exposed to the wide, cruel world. One email implored me to not "ruin" a show that "just tries to bring joy into the world," he wrote.

Greaves expressed disgust with the heated interest in the legal spat involving the Satanic Temple, saying people should be more focused on pressing political matters in America.

"So ends one of the most over-publicized of copyright claims. Press can now stop pretending this was unique and momentous or even interesting. So, too, hopefully, ends the parade of stupidity from online amateur legal experts," he wrote.

The Satanic Temple originally argued the Baphomet with Children statue had a very specific look.

In the show, the statue sits at the centre of the Witches Academy and, at one point, cries blood in a storyline that follows a young plucky half-witch torn between the mortal and magic worlds.

Baphomet is generally regarded as a greater demon of hell. The deity is historically connected to the story of the Knights Templar, a prominent holy order during the Crusades. Since the Crusades, the deity has widely been associated with the occult.

In the civil filing, the Satanic Temple alleged that the series portrays the Baphomet statue as a symbol of evil but argues Satan is more of a literary figure to be admired for his rebellion against tyranny and encouragement of freedom — far different from the Satan depicted in the Sabrina series, who tries to trick and enslave the young half-witch

The Temple could not be reached for comment.

Warner Brothers declined to add any further details or to clarify whether Baphomet will appear again in the show.

About the Author

Yvette Brend is a CBC Vancouver journalist. Yvette.Brend@CBC.ca @ybrend

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