The Rio De Janeiro offices of Brazil’s comedy collective, Porta dos Fundos, were attacked on Christmas Eve by masked men with Molotov cocktails.
The individuals, wearing ski masks, threw the firebombs at the back door of the offices. A security man spotted what had happened and was able to quickly put out the fire without any serious damage taking place.
Porta dos Fundos have faced widespread criticism in Brazil for making a 46-minute comedy movie for Netflix, The First Temptation of Christ. In it, Jesus is shown returning home on his 30th birthday and introducing his boyfriend to his family. The humorous movie debuted on Netflix three weeks ago.
A petition in the country condemning the movie and calling for it to be banned has gained 2million signatures. Brazil has a large Catholic population and a growing number of evangelical churches.
Following the incident, a group posted a video to social media claiming responsibility for the attack.
In the video (now removed from YouTube and other sites), a person with a digitally-altered voice says the group was targetted because of the ‘blasphemous’ Jesus movie. They claim they and their colleagues are part of the Popular Nationalist Insurgency Command of the Large Brazilian Integralist Family.
The video also features imagery used by another rightwing, traditionalist group, the Brazilian Integralist Front. However, that group has denied any involvement in the incident, leaving authorities questioning whether the perpetrators are really with the group they claim to represent.
Following the attack, Porta dos Fundos took to Twitter to say that CCTV footage of the attack had been handed over to authorities, who are investigating.
Um dos seguranças conseguiu controlar o princípio de incêndio e não houve feridos apesar da ação ter colocado em risco várias vidas inocentes na empresa e na rua.
— Porta dos Fundos (@portadosfundos) December 24, 2019
They ended a thread of tweets by saying, “The country will survive this torment of hatred, and love will prevail together with freedom of expression.
“We will move on, more united, stronger, more inspired and confident.”
Yesterday, local police said they were treating the incident as an attempted homicide, reports Reuters.
Police say they have identified a motorbike and vehicle used during the attack. They are working to track down four suspects.
“We are going to find those responsible as fast as possible, also to prevent any future actions that this group may be planning,” said senior police official Fabio Barucke, reports Associated Press.