The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina and the $50 Million Lawsuit

By Mason Sansonia

The second season of Sabrina has come and gone, not only shorter than the first, but also less magical. Twists and turns abounded in this season, and not all of them for the better. But one that will go unnoticed by many is a small change in the credits of the show brought about by the destruction of the Baphomet statue in the Academy of Unseen Arts. Any episodes displaying the statue have a small section of the credits devoted to the statue, referencing the work of art that it is based on: a very, very similar Baphomet statue commissioned by The Satanic Temple (TST).

Confused as to why that’s there? Let’s start from the beginning. Trust me, this story gets interesting.

The Bronze Baphomet

Back in 2012, a monument of the Ten Commandments was installed on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol building after being donated by an Oklahoma State Representative.

Several people, the ACLU among them, thought that this was a bit of a constitutional no-no, as this was the only monument of its kind on the Capitol’s grounds. They argued it showed a clear favoritism towards one religion, which separation of church and state should not have permitted.

So of course, the friendly neighborhood Satanic Temple set about putting their fears at rest. They commissioned a bronze statue of Baphomet teaching a pair of children as an homage to Satanism, and filed for permission to install it on the Capitol grounds. That way, the State would show clear impartiality, with two opposed religious monuments displayed prominently on the same state grounds.

To make a long story short, the Baphomet never went up on Oklahoma State grounds, but the Ten Commandments monument was removed due to an unrelated lawsuit filed by the ACLU. Since then, TST has been filing to bring the Baphomet to Arkansas State Capitol grounds in response to (say it with me now) a Ten Commandments monument being placed there.

The Prop Baphomet

In episode 4 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, we finally get a look inside the long built-up Academy of Unseen Arts. Or at least, around 4 rooms of it, despite the mention of some 5000 existing due to dimensional mischief. In one of those rooms sat a stone Baphomet statue that looked uncomfortably familiar to several people. That’s because it was an almost exact replica of the original bronze Baphomet. Though it lacked the large pentagram, it still had the rather prominent children gazing upwards.

This led to a copyright claim by TST against Warner Bros to the tune of $50 million, which was eventually settled. The settlement included an agreement to mention the original, copyrighted statue in the credits of any episode featuring the prop. It has not been made public whether or not a monetary agreement was reached.

Of course, the credits agreement will be moot for any future seasons. Seeing as over the course of one of the episodes, the prop Baphomet winds up in pieces on the floor. It’s so shocking that one of the characters actually calls the statue by its name, something not mentioned before that point in the series. Many probably assumed it was a depiction of the Dark Lord (the show’s version of Satan), as both had the head of a goat, not knowing that Baphomet is an entirely different entity.

The Irony

When I first started watching Sabrina, I already knew a bit about the bronze Baphomet story. I was surprised to see what looked to be an exact replica in their school. But I figured it made sense. This was, after all, a group dedicated to an actual Satan and being killed by Christian witch hunters. I figured that the story of the Baphomet statue, being a tale of defiance and questioning the status quo, would fit right in with Sabrina, which features a lot of both those things. But despite how much the story would have fit, it never came up, and now the statue’s gone.

I suppose the producers didn’t want to be associated with TST. Which is rather ironic considering TST wasn’t happy with the symbol being, to quote its spokesperson Lucien Greaves, “the focal point of the school associated with evil, cannibalism and murder.” It seems TST didn’t want to be judged by what people thought it was rather than what it is. But hey, it’s not like Sabrina ever tackles that issue, right?

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