The Satanic Temple is upset with Netflix's take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, claiming the hit show's use of a Baphomet statue is too similar to their own, and it's being used to spread 'satanic panic'.
On Sunday the temple's co-founder Lucien Greaves tweeted that the organisation were taking legal action over The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina's use of their "copyrighted monument design" of Baphomet, which he says has been appropriated by the show's creators to "promote their asinine Satanic Panic fiction."
The Netflix show, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is based on the Archie Comics series of the same name.
The Temple has taken issue with the show's use of Baphomet to depict their version of Satanism — which they don't agree with.
In Sabrina a Baphomet-like figure is used to represent Satan — a villain the teen battles with throughout the series.
The show's 'school for witches' — The Academy of Unseen Arts — shows a prominent replica statue of Baphomet, which some media outlets have identified as having a strong likeness to the iconic monument that's already used by The Satanic Temple.
The history of Baphomet is complex. It's the deity the Knights Templar were falsely accused of worshipping in 1307 after the name came up in several confessions when King Philip IV of France had many Templars arrested and tortured.
One of the main charges in the trial of the Templars was the alleged worship of Baphomet.
The sabbatic goat image that's associated with the name then came far later in 1856. This image, that the temple's monument is inspired by, was drawn by French occult author Eliphas Levi and was intended to symbolise his idea of the equilibrium of opposites. The drawing — a winged, breasted, goat-headed figure with a pentagram on its head later become widely known as a symbol of darkness thanks to multiple repurposings of the image.
Levi's Baphomet was also adopted and used in the work of Aleister Crowley.
Then, in 1961, another Frenchman — Maurice Bessy — used an interpretation of this image on the cover of his book on the supernatural.
It was shortly after this — well after the first mention of Baphomet — that another revised version was used by the head of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey, to illustrate The Satanic Mass LP in 1968.
Lavey's use of Baphomet then led to it being widely associated as a symbol of Satanism and black magic. From there the 'Sigil of Baphomet' became the official insignia of the Church of Satan. The Church is separate to The Satanic Temple — TST consider themselves to be an updated version of LaVeyan Satanism.
Band Venom then sparked the wave of the Baphomet image being used in heavy metal when they used a take on the Sigil of Baphomet to illustrate their album Welcome to Hell.
Then in 2015 The Satanic Temple unveiled their own Baphomet to the world in Detroit — this image depicts Baphomet with two children and is the version that is in the middle of the battle with Netflix.
TST's Baphomet was made after the temple took on the church before the Supreme Court in Oklahoma and won. The Temple argued a Christian statue of the Ten Commandments had violated a constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a specific religion.
TST argued that if Christians were allowed to display their religious statue, Satanists should be too and a monument of the 'Dark Lord' was made.
WHY THE TEMPLE IS ANGRY
Mr Greaves claims he spent more than a year and more than $US100,000 on designing the temple's version of Baphomet which he says has "been directly copied for use to portray a cannibalistic cult" in Sabrina.
"I'm amazed that anybody is confused as to why we would seek legal remedy over Sabrina using our monument. Would they be as understanding of a fictional show that used a real mosque as the HQ of a terrorist cell? A fictional Blood Libel tale implicating real world Jews?" Mr Greaves argued.
While some felt Sabrina's use of Baphomet was "good exposure" for the The Satanic Temple, Mr Greaves did not agree.
"Having one's central icon associated with human sacrifice in an evil patriarchal cult is hardly good exposure," he said.
Netflix and The Satanic Temple has been contacted for further comment.
Sabrina's production designer told VICE the statue was not modelled on the Satanic Temple's version.
"I think that's kind of a coincidence …," Lisa Soper said in an interview before Mr Greaves announced legal action.
"When you look at Baphomet, there's really only a couple of statues of him — which, they have their statue, and we've got our statue in the show."
Mr Greaves has claimed TST was never contacted by Netflix or anyone involved with the series regarding the statue.