People were a tad apprehensive about the arrival of Netflix's new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series last month. It's a far cry from the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch and we found out quite early on that there would, sadly, be no Salem the talking cat. But further concerns arose when the focus of the series stretched beyond its familiar realm of witchcraft and lent towards more satanic practices and traditions (for the record, yes, they're very different things).
Earlier this month an organisation called The Satanic Temple claimed that Netflix and Warner Bros, the studios behind the reboot, had copied one of their statues and used it in the show. After making a complaint and later suing the two production companies for $50 million (£38 million), it's now been reported that the lawsuit has been settled "amicably". A relief for all involved, I'm sure.
The Satanic Temple – a group based in Salem, Massachusetts which does not promote a belief in "a personal Satan" but encourages "benevolence and empathy among all people" – alleged that a copy of their goat-headed deity, Baphomet, had been featured in four of the new episodes of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Before any legal proceedings had kicked off, the temple's founder, Lucien Greaves, had posted images on Twitter comparing the likeness between the two.
Very similar, right? Well the courts seemed to agree as yesterday evening Greaves confirmed on social media that "one of the most overpublicized of copyright claims" had now come to an end.
The tweet linked back to a statement he had posted on religion and spirituality website Patheos. He wrote: "The unique elements of the Satanic Temple’s Baphomet statue have been acknowledged in the credits of episodes which have already been filmed. The remaining terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement."
Greaves also spoke about the hate mail he had received since filing the lawsuit, and "the confused claim from the people who said we were 'playing victim,' with the alternative being that we simply stand silent when we feel our work may have been exploited."
Let that be a lesson to the production houses looking to use existing symbolism, statues or icons without crediting the spiritual houses that they come from. Don't do it. Unless you've got a spare $50 million to pay on the other side of an over-publicised court case.