Netflix, the ultimate place of freedom of speech and utopia of artists, has removed an episode from a comedy show on its website. The episode made fun of Saudi Arab crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and the alleged involvement of him in the killing of American dissenter journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The comedy show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj is show of 32 episodes, taking one issue in an episode, more or less like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. But then, Netflix is not HBO. Right?
Financial Times reported the news, writing, “Netflix confirmed that it had removed the episode in Saudi Arabia last week after the country’s Communications and Information Technology Commission made a request to take it down because it allegedly violated the kingdom’s anti-cybercrime law.”
“Saudi Arabia has become an influential player in the technology and entertainment sectors through big investments by its sovereign wealth fund, which directly owns stakes in companies such as Uber and many other groups indirectly through its backing of Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund. Later in the removed episode, Mr Minhaj criticised Silicon Valley for ‘swimming in Saudi cash’ and urged tech companies to stop taking investment from the kingdom.”
Netflix replied to the questions on removing episode under the pressure of Saudi Arabia. In a statement, Netflix said, “We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law.”
We can say in a nutshell, Netflix can hire writers but not lawyers.
The episode which Netflix removed from its website is still on the official channel of Netflix on YouTube. Have a watch: