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Netflix Pulls Patriot Act Episode

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Netflix pulls ‘Patriot Act’ episode in Saudi Arabia

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Netflix pulled the episode in Saudi Arabia earlier this year at the behest of the government there.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is reportedly defending the company’s decision to remove an episode of Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj from its Saudi Arabia service following a kingdom complaint. Hastings’ remarks occurred at a New York Times DealBook conference Wednesday.


“We’re not in the truth to power business, we’re in the entertainment business,” Hastings said, according to a tweet from NBC’s Dylan Byers.

Reed Hastings on taking down @hasanminhaj show after letter from MBS/Saudi Arabia: Were not in the truth to power business, were in the entertainment business.#dealbook

Dylan Byers

“We’re not in the news business,” Hastings said, as reported by Variety and The Hill. “We don’t feel bad about it at all.”

The episode is still available worldwide on YouTube and outside Saudi Arabia on Netflix.

Netflix didn’t immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment Thursday.

Netflix Pulls ‘patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj’ Episode Critical Of Saudi Arabia

Hasan Minhaj performs in ‘Patriot Act’ on Netflix.


CARA HOWE FOR NETFLIX

While Netflix subscribers across the globe were busy perusing the new Comedians of the World special on New Year’s Day, critics were alarmed to discover that the streaming giant had pulled an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj for viewers in Saudi Arabia. Specifically, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, the platform had removed the hit show’s second episode, which is all about Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his influence, at the request of the country’s government.

“Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Minhaj, a former correspondent for The Daily Show, says in the episode, which is still available for viewing in North America. “And I mean that as a Muslim, and as an American.”

The episode, which dives into Mohammed bin Salman’s growing power in and outside of Saudi Arabia, starts with the alleged killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Many intelligence sources, including those here in the United States, have laid the blame directly on the Saudi Crown Prince.

Per Financial Times, Netflix confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission had officially requested that the episode be taken down for subscribers in its region “because it allegedly violated the kingdom’s anti-cyber crime law.” The streamer also issued an official statement on the matter:


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Netflix Pulls Patriot Acts Saudi Arabia Episode From Its Saudi Platform

Patriot Act

Update : Hasan Minhaj has responded to the episodes removal from Netflixs Saudi platform on Twitter.


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This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

The original post continues below.

Netflix has removed Patriot Act with Hasan Minhajs Saudi Arabia-themed episode from its platform in the country in response to a legal request.

The episode in question was the shows second when it premiered last October. Minhaj spoke out against the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, which he called the biggest tragedy of the era. Although the discussion remains available on the shows official YouTube pagealong with an update on the story from Decemberit is no longer available to stream on Netflix in Saudi Arabia.

When Patriot Act first debuted, it was pieces like the Saudi Arabia examination that excited Hasan Minhaj most. As he told Vanity Fair in an interview at the time, Were gonna be doing international news stories and sort of addressing things that sometimes exist in the white space that people dont talk about. Or theyre like, Its better to just talk about whats happening here, domestically, this week. Thats what excites me about the Saudi Arabia episode, is that take of people being like, Yes, finally, someone is saying that.


This post has been updated.

Vanity Fair

Netflix Removes Hasan Minhaj Comedy Episode After Saudi Demand

Netflix pulls

Netflix has removed from its streaming service in Saudi Arabia an episode of a comedy show critical of the kingdom.

The second episode of Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj was removed following a legal demand, which reportedly said it violated a Saudi anti-cybercrime law.

It features Minhaj mocking the actions of Saudi officials following the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and condemning the crown princes policies.


Netflix said it backed artistic freedom but had to comply with local law.

Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Saudi officials initially insisted the 59-year-old had left the building alive. But they later acknowledged that he was murdered by a team of Saudi agents and that his body was dismembered before being disposed of elsewhere.

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The Saudi government cited a local Saudi statute as its reason to request that the episode be removed. Per Article 6 of that law, production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers is a crime. The punishment? A maximum of five years in prison and a fine of as much as $800,000. Netflix complied with their legal demand as they always comply with local law in the countries where they operate.


The streamer released a statement, saying, 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.

However, the Saudi government did not request the segment be removed from YouTube. It is still posted and is available to view.

Minhaj responded to Netflixs decision with a bit of derisive humor, noting on Twitter that, Clearly the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online, and then leave it up on YouTube.

Clearly, the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online, and then leave it up on YouTube.

Lets not forget that the worlds largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now. Please donate:

Hasan Minhaj

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Netflix Pulls Patriot Act Episode In Saudi Arabia Faces Backlash From Human Rights Group

Netflix is under fire from journalists and human rights group Amnesty International after making the decision to remove an episode of Hasan Minhajs show Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia. The episode in question was the series second installment, which featured Minhaj being highly critical of the Saudi Arabian government following the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia, Minhaj said during the episode, and I mean that as a Muslim and an American.

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The revelations about Khashoggis killing have shattered that image and it blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go: Oh I guess hes not really a reformer, Minhaj also said.

Netflix pulled the episode off its streaming platform in Saudi Arabia after receiving a takedown request from the Saudi governments Communications and Information Technology Commission. The company issued a statement defending itself, saying, 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.

IndieWire has reached out to Netflix for further comment.

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A Line Has To Be Drawn

Guy Bisson, an entertainment analyst and research director at Ampere Analysis, said its not reasonable to expect Netflix to take a position on everything.

Netflix is a business, Bisson said. The Middle East is going to be an important growth market for them, and they have to respect local culture. They cant take a stand against everything. So a line has to be drawn.

He said pre-editing and censoring episodes is not unusual in the industry in markets where there are particular moral outlooks or regulations. But he said Netflix is not pre-editing its original content when they release and distribute to multiple markets.

I assume that Netflix didnt realize, perhaps, how contentious it would be until they broadcast it, and they pulled it when they were informed it was in breach of local regulation.

The Saudi cybercrime law states production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine, according to Amnesty International.

Saudi prosecutors have used the broadly worded law to imprison rights activists, poets and others whove expressed views deemed critical of the government or its policies on social media.

Since Prince Mohammad was named heir to the throne in mid-2017, dozens of writers, activists and moderate clerics have been jailed.

With files from CBC News

‘a Line Has To Be Drawn’

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Guy Bisson, an entertainment analyst and research director at Ampere Analysis, said it’s not reasonable to expect Netflix to take a position on everything.

“Netflix is a business,” Bisson said. “The Middle East is going to be an important growth market for them, and they have to respect local culture. They can’t take a stand against everything. So a line has to be drawn.”

He said pre-editing and censoring episodes is not unusual in the industry in markets where there are particular moral outlooks or regulations. But he said Netflix is not pre-editing its original content when they release and distribute to multiple markets.

“I assume that Netflix didn’t realize, perhaps, how contentious it would be until they broadcast it, and they pulled it when they were informed it was in breach of local regulation.”

The Saudi cybercrime law states “production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers” is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine, according to Amnesty International.

Saudi prosecutors have used the broadly worded law to imprison rights activists, poets and others who’ve expressed views deemed critical of the government or its policies on social media.

Since Prince Mohammad was named heir to the throne in mid-2017, dozens of writers, activists and moderate clerics have been jailed.

With files from CBC News

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Under Pressure Netflix Pulls Episode Of ‘patriot Act’ In Saudi Arabia

Netflix subscribers in Saudi Arabia will no longer be able to view an episode of the comedy variety series “Patriot Act” after the streaming service pulled the installment that contained references to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

While the move drew a sharp rebuke from free speech proponents, Netflix said it made the decision to comply with local laws.

“Patriot Act” host Hasan Minhaj made the references in an episode of the series titled “Saudi Arabia,” in which the American comedian criticized the kingdom’s conflicting explanations of Khashoggi’s death.

“This is the most unbelievable cover story since Blake Shelton won Sexiest Man Alive,” Minhaj said in the show.

The comedian also made critical remarks about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying in the episode that “now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

Netflix’s decision comes as the streaming company is aggressively growing overseas and is looking to foreign audiences to expand its subscriber base as U.S. subscriber growth matures.

But as it expands into countries with authoritarian regimes, the company is finding that some of its edgy and progressive content doesn’t always sit well with local officials.

Netflix pulled the “Patriot Act” episode after Saudi Arabia’s Communication and Information Technology Commission notified them that the episode was in violation of the kingdom’s anti-cybercrime law.

What Did Hasan Minhaj Say

Just a few months ago, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, was hailed as the reformer the Arab World needed. But the revelations about Khashoggis killing have shattered that image, said Minhaj in the episode of Patriot Act removed by Netflix.

Since being named second-in-line to the throne in June 2017, Prince Mohammed has introduced a raft of headline-grabbing reforms, such as lifting the ban on women being allowed to drive and seeking to shift its economy away from oil.

But, he has also been criticised for escalating a crackdown on dissenting voices, among them a number of womens rights activists, pursuing a war in neighbouring Yemen that has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, and starting a diplomatic dispute with Qatar that has divided the Gulf Co-operation Council.

At the end of the episode, Minhaj said: I am genuinely rooting for change in Saudi Arabia. I am rooting for the people of Saudi Arabia. There are people in Saudi Arabia fighting for true reform, but MBS is not one of them.

And to those who continue to work with him, just know that with every deal you close you are simply helping entrench an absolute monarch under the guise of progress, because ultimately MBS is not modernising Saudi Arabia. The only thing he is modernising is Saudi dictatorship.

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Netflix Has Removed An Episode Of Hasan Minhaj

New Delhi:

Netflix has removed an episode of Hasan Minhaj-hosted Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia, which featured a segment criticising the countrys Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans alleged involvement in journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The episode will not air in Saudi Arabia but is available elsewhere.

In the episode, Minhaj blames Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggis murder, calling it the biggest tragedy of the MBS era, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Minhaj also spoke about how American companies preferred to keep their business ties intact with Saudi Arabia. Netflix, on its part said they received a legal request from the Saudi government to remove the episode from its platform, though the episode remains available on YouTube.

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We strongly support artistic freedom and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal requestand to comply with local law, Netflix US said in a statement.

Minhajs show started screening in October and is already very popular. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2, 2018, to collect a document for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

Turkish media recently reported that people who came out of the consulate were carrying a bag, which according to the reports, contained Khashoggis body parts

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Netflix pulls

The Saudi government cited a local Saudi statute as its reason to request that the episode be removed. Per Article 6 of that law, production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers is a crime. The punishment? A maximum of five years in prison and a fine of as much as $800,000. Netflix complied with their legal demand as they always comply with local law in the countries where they operate.

The streamer released a statement, saying, 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.

However, the Saudi government did not request the segment be removed from YouTube. It is still posted and is available to view.

Minhaj responded to Netflixs decision with a bit of derisive humor, noting on Twitter that, Clearly the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online, and then leave it up on YouTube.

Clearly, the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online, and then leave it up on YouTube.

Lets not forget that the worlds largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now. Please donate:

Hasan Minhaj

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Complying With Local Law

The commission said the episode was in violation of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of the Anti-Cyber Crime Law in Saudi Arabia. Officials at the commission could not be immediately reached for comment.

But Samah Hadid at Amnesty International said, Netflix is in danger of facilitating the kingdoms zero-tolerance policy on freedom of expression and assisting the authorities in denying peoples right to freely access information.

Its a slippery slope, said Whitson, questioning which country could be next to demand censorship. And pretty soon well have effectively a global censorship scheme.

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