The Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches of Argentina (Aciera) has accused the creators of the Netflix series, ‘The Kingdom’, of “using art” to “create in the popular imagination the perception” that their pastors “only have ambitions of power or money”, in order to “segregate, mark in lists and point out as dangerous and fundamentalist” to their faithful and that they “weaken and disappear”.
The association has expressed itself in these terms through a document signed by its National Board of Directors. The evangelicals allude to a “fascist behavior” and accuse Claudia Piñeiro, screenwriter and creator of the series along with Marcelo Piñeyro, of having “a bitterness” against the “evangelical culture of Argentina” derived from her “feminist militancy during the debate on the abortion law”.
The Kingdom’ tells the story of pastor Emilio Vázquez Pena, played by Diego Peretti, and how his life and that of his family are shaken after the attack on the candidate for president of the republic: after the horror, comes the opportunity, and the religious could become the head of the nation. In the midst of intrigues, Emilio will try to decipher the causes of the crime and its instigator, all while the public eye scrutinizes his secrets and those of the lucrative church run by the family.
“It is not that the narrator does this out of mere ignorance of these communities; it seems that the objective would be to seek to destroy the trajectory and the testimony that these churches have managed to achieve socially through so many years with so much effort. Those who were previously attacked as sects are now being pigeonholed as ‘followers of Bolsonaro’, ‘right-wing reactionaries’, agents of evil against the ideals promoted by the collective that the scriptwriter represents,” says Aciera’s text.
It also states that “creating a prodThe use of a cultural product, such as a fictional film or a series, on the basis of hatred, to generate social rejection of a religious group, is an act that does not enhance the beauty of a profession that should be characterized by transparency and intellectual and creative purity, and not by using acting to denigrate the social rejection of those who think differently from those who produce that work”.
In another fragment of the text, the members of the aforementioned association invite the creators of ‘The Kingdom’, “without any intention of censoring their work”, to “come and see the real work that these ‘right-wing reactionaries’ do in the slums, prisons, hospitals and among people in need”. Hours later, after the widespread repudiation, the evangelicals decided to remove the communiqué.
Claudia Piñeiro responded through her Twitter account: “Censorship is censorship, whatever you want to disguise it as” and “Now censoring a fiction already seems medieval”. To stop the harassment she began to receive on the social network, the author of ‘Elena sabe’ privatized her account, while receiving the support of colleagues and many viewers of the strip.
The Argentine Union of Writers, on the other hand, has rejected “forcefully” the attack on Claudia Piñeiro for her work as a screenwriter of the series ‘The Kingdom’. “It is not necessary to clarify that this is a work of fiction that should enjoy full freedom to develop. We consider it a serious matter to try to confuse the public and manipulate them into believing that a fictional fact has some correlation with reality”.
Meanwhile, Mercedes Morán, another of the protagonists of the series, also spoke out on Twitter in favor of the screenwriter: “All my solidarity, my gratitude and my love to @claudiapineiro before the attacks she is suffering”.
All my solidarity, my thanks and my love to @claudiapineiro in the face of the attacks she is suffering.
– Mercedes Moran (@mercedesmoranb) August 19, 2021
“Very worrying the medieval statement of Aciera that pretends to define what would be artistic purity and ideological ‘contamination’ to attack Claudia Piñeiro as a screenwriter of ‘The Kingdom’. All solidarity with her,” said writer Guillermo Martínez on his Twitter account.
“No one who has seen ‘The Kingdom’ understands that the shepherd Peretti embodies is the measure of all shepherds; on the contrary, it is clear that he is a very particular one, in the heart of a fiction that does not even pretend to be strictly realistic. Rather than a vindication of its people, ACIERA’s communiqué sounds like a punctual attack on a woman, Claudia Piñeiro, a well-known activist in favor of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy,” said novelist and screenwriter Marcelo Figueras.
The writer and poet Marina Mariasch, for her part, pointed out a sort of double standard when it comes to evaluating how fiction portrays religions: “I wonder if something like this happens or happened every time a fiction about Jews (like “Little Orthodox”), Catholics. Are there topics that can’t be touched in fiction? pfff”.