According to SFGate, Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves tweeted on Sunday that the organization — which is described as a religious and political activism group, with several chapters around the country — would be "taking legal action" against Netflix and the teen supernatural series for "appropriating" the Temple’s copyrighted design for a monument of the occult deity Baphomet:
On the series, an adaptation of the Archie Comics book, teen witch-in-training Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) is enrolled at the Academy of Unseen Arts, a school for witchcraft at which the Baphomet statue is prominently featured.
In addition to Greaves claiming that the show has lifted the statue's design from the "central image" of the Temple, which he says went to some financial and creative effort to create the copyrighted monument, Greaves is concerned with Sabrina's portrayal of Satanism itself.
"The issue isn't the appropriation of Satanic religious symbols to portray beliefs and activities that bear no relation to what the practitioners of Satanism believe," Greaves tells SYFY WIRE in an email. "We don't own Satanism and we can only try to educate people as to what Satanism means to those who identify with it when we're countering irresponsible fictions that feed real-world moral panics.
"It's one thing that there's another ignorant television portrayal of a Satanic Panic-style Satanic cult that engages in cannibalism, but it is another thing that they've used our unique and copyrighted Baphomet monument as the central icon of that cult," he continued. "We spent a year and a half designing and financing our monument, which has become a central image of our own organization. To see it appropriated as 'the Sabrina monument' while associated with cannibalistic rites is unacceptable. We owe it to everybody who identifies with us to rectify this situation."
As for what could rectify the situation, Greaves has a simple demand: "Netflix needs to remove the image of our monument from their show and they are not to use it in future seasons."
Both the real-life and TV statue are clearly the offspring of illustrations and wood carvings that date back hundreds of years, but the resemblance between the two is remarkable. Some respondents to Greaves' tweet contend that the show's alleged poaching of the Temple's design is clear-cut, while others suggest that the Temple should not spend time litigating over an image that has been in use for centuries.
The Temple's statue (photo below) was first commissioned in 2014 to protest the installation of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol, with the reasoning being that if one religious icon could be displayed there, others could as well.
When the Commandments monument was removed, the nine-foot-tall, 2,000-pound, bronze Baphomet statue was completed and debuted at the Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple a year later. It was parked outside the Arkansas state capitol earlier this year to protest another Ten Commandments monument.
Netflix has yet to respond to the Temple's accusations.