The Royal Film Commission of Jordan has called on Netflix to ban a controversial US drama series due to stream in the country this week, The Independent UK is reporting.
Although the 10-episode series was partly filmed in Jordan in 2018, the kingdom’s Royal Film Commission does not want the series to be aired in their country.
The Royal Film Commission of Jordan, a predominantly Islamic country, made the call in a statement published in The Independent UK.
This is not the first controversy that has trailed the series. A Change.org petition launched in December 2019 called for a boycott of the show, describing it as “evil and anti-Islamic propaganda”.
The show was also after Arabic-speaking Twitter users claimed that they had already worked out the show’s central plot twist after translating the name of the “messiah” character of the title.
More than 4,000 people signed a petition to ban the show. But despite the issues at hand, Messiah began streaming on Netflix worldwide on Wednesday.
On its site, Netflix said the series is a “Fictional story, not based on true events”.
The synopsis reads, “A wary CIA officer investigates a charismatic man who sparks a spiritual movement and stirs political unrest.”
“Having been made aware of its content, the RFC has asked officially the management of Netflix to refrain from streaming it in Jordan,” the commission’s statement reads.
“The story is purely fictional and so are the characters, yet the RFC deems that the content of the series could be largely perceived or interpreted as infringing on the sanctity of religion, thus possibly contravening the laws in the country.”
The statement continues, “While still standing firmly by its principles, notably the respect of creative freedom, the RFC – as a public and responsible institution – cannot condone or ignore messages that infringe on the Kingdom’s basic laws.”
In a statement, Netflix said, “Messiah is a work of fiction. It is not based on anyone’s character, figure or religion. All Netflix shows feature ratings and information to help members make their own decisions about what’s right for them and their families.”
Similarly, in December 2019, a Netflix Brazil short film that insinuates Jesus is gay sparked controversy and attack investigations in Brazil
The short film, “The First Temptation of Christ,” depicts Jesus returning home on his 30th birthday and insinuates he is gay.
An online petition was launched in Brazil calling for the film to be banned and drew more than 2 million signatures.
The producers, Porta dos Fundos, an award-winning comedy group known for their satirical views, defended the film.