'Gay Jesus' Netflix Christmas special sparks outrage in Brazil as almost two million people sign petition to remove it

More than 1.8 million people have signed a petition calling for Netflix to ban a Christmas special in Brazil that portrays Jesus as gay.

The change.org petition wants The First Temptation of Christ pulled from the network and are demanding an apology from Netflix for "seriously" offending Christians.

The 46-minute comedy was made by Brazilian YouTube comedy group Porta dos Fundos who are known for their satirical sketches.

The synopsis on Netflix's website reads: "Jesus, who's hitting the big 3-0, brings a surprise guest to meet the family. A Christmas special so wrong, it must be from comedians Porta dos Fundos."

The show, described by Netflix as "irreverent", has sparked outrage in Brazil where 64% of the population are Catholic.

The petition creators want Porta dos Fundos "to be held responsible for the crime of villainous faith."

In response, Netflix said in a statement: "Porta dos Fundos is an award-winning comedy group known for their satirical and irreverent views about everyday situations.

"They have been producing religious specials for a decade; and last year's comedy special won the International Emmy for Best Comedy.We strongly support the creative freedom of the artists we work with."

"Porta dos Fundos is known for their irreverent and satirical Christmas specials- using their own unique blend of humor to take on cultural and social issues.

"We understand that not everyone agrees with their content - and on Netflix our members choose what they watch.

Porta dos Fundos said the group " values artistic freedom and humour through satire on the most diverse cultural themes of our society and believes that freedom of expression is an essential construction for a democratic country".

The petition currently stands at just over 1.8 million. Credit: Change.org

The son of Brazillian President Jair Bolsonaro - himself a " self-declared homophobe" - Eduardo called the Netflix film “garbage” and said the filmmakers “do not represent Brazilian society” in a tweet on Saturday.

Brazil is reported to have the highest LGBT murder rate in the world, with more than 380 murders in 2017 alone, an increase of 30% compared to 2016.