Cuties vs the Patriot Act: Netflix's Deal with Saudi Arabia

Published September 14th, 2020 - 06:16 GMT
Cuties vs the Patriot Act: About Netflix's Deal with Saudi Arabia
Removing the episode was a very hard decision to take but it helped the platform air many other shows deemed as "socially controversial". (Netflix)

In an interview with CNN, Netflix CEO has revealed the decision to remove an episode of the Patriot Act which had very harsh criticism of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Netflix's executive's comments stirred many reactions among online commentators, who described it as "a cheap bargain" allowed by the conservative kingdom. 

At the end of his interview with CNN, Reed Hastings faced a question over the movie sharing platform's decisions when it comes to censorship. The presenter had specifically named an episode of the comedy show Patriot Act, in which Hasan Minhaj linked the brutal killing of a dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi to policies of the de facto ruler Mohammad Bin Salman often referred to as MBS; suggesting that MBS had ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

The episode in which MBS was referred to as "Abu Rasasa" or father of the bullet was shortly removed off Netflix in Saudi Arabia but remained on the show's YouTube channel so far. Removal of the episode had prompted many strong reactions back then as it was considered a Saudi attempt to "cover-up MBS's involvement in the Khashoggi case."

Translation: "This explains how a pedophile film that sexualizes kids has become a top trend in Saudi Arabia."

According to Hastings, removing the episode was a very hard decision to take but it helped the platform air many other shows deemed as "socially controversial" such as Sex Education, Orange is the New Black, and others.

Hastings' comments were widely shared by Arabic-speaking Twitter users, as they questioned Saudi priorities, saying that it matters much more for the Saudi leadership to hide political content based on their preferences and interests than to "preserve the country's conservative values."

Translation: "Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings tells CNN that Saudi allowed gay and sexual shows in return for removing an episode,a in which MBS was criticized following the Khashoggi crisis. We are at a time in which immorality is okay as long as it protects political leaders."

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