Middle East

Netflix pulls comedy show episode in Saudi Arabia: media

(Reuters) – Netflix pulled an episode of the comedy show “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” from its internet streaming service in Saudi Arabia after kingdom officials complained, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

The episode of the news-comedy program in question criticized Saudi Arabia over the slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Before being killed, Khashoggi had been an outspoken critic of the kingdom and of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Financial Times and other media reported. The kingdom has since acknowledged publicly that the reporter, who was a permanent US resident, died in its custody in the consulate.

Netflix officials were not immediately available for comment and no statement was posted on its official corporate, Facebook or Twitter sites.

Saudi Arabia officials also were not immediately available for comment.

But in a statement to the Financial Times and other media, Netflix confirmed that it removed the episode in Saudi Arabia last week after the kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission asked that it be removed because it allegedly violated the kingdom’s anti-cyber crime law.

“We strongly support artistic freedom and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we received a valid legal request – and to comply with local law,” a Netflix official said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter publication.

In the episode, first aired in the US in October, Minhaj said, “Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia. And I mean that as a Muslim and as an American.”

He also criticized the kingdom for its involvement in the ongoing war in Yemen and described the kingdom as being autocratic.

The New York Times reported that this particular episode is still available for viewing in Saudi Arabia through the YouTube platform.

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