Ramón Fossati has played the role of Jesus for the past three decades in his local Easter day parade in Valencia, Spain. This year, however, he won't be.
The parade's organizers recently informed Fossati, who is openly gay, that he's been barred from participating in the event for the next three years because of his portrayal of Jesus last year. Specifically, parade officials took issue with Fossati's take on his costume and the way that he interacted the crowd.
According to Fossati, the Junta Mayor de Semana Santa Marinera said that Fossati's bare-shouldered robe was too risque and suggestive and that he waved at parade-goers too "ostentatiously."
Fossati, insisted that his shoulderless parade attire was inspired by a number of pieces of art that show Jesus himself draped loosely in cloth. Moreover, he explicitly decided to leave one shoulder covered up for fear of the costume being considered too controversial.
While the church is sticking to its claims that its decision was driven entirely by Fossati's attire, he suspects that it has more to do with his being gay and actively participating in local religious events.
“It could be jealousy. Or maybe it was punishment for being gay. But everyone where I live knows my sexual orientation and it is not an issue," Fossati told The Times. “I am deeply religious and this is the worst thing that could happen.”