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."
عرفنا السبب لماذا الفيلم المسيء للأطفال الذي صورهم بصورة جنسية يعرض في السعودية بكل ترحاب بل وأصبح تريند https://t.co/vN96lOkB6T— بنت أمها (@bentOmahah) September 13, 2020
Translation: "This explains how a pedophile film that sexualizes kids has become a top trend in Saudi Arabia."
Netflix faces criticism for pulling an episode in Saudi Arabia of comedian Hasan Minhaj's "Patriot Act" that criticized the kingdom's powerful crown prince. https://t.co/fhfhe4wuXr pic.twitter.com/R2jUJjj9Ba— ABC News (@ABC) January 3, 2019
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."
مدير نتفليكس "ريد هاستينغز" في مقابلة مع قناة CNN، يعترف بأن السعودية سمحت بعرض أفلام الشذوذ والخلاعة وتعليم الجنس، مقابل حذف حلقة انتُقد فيها محمد بن سلمان بسبب أزمة الصحفي المغدور جمال خاشقجي!— Miloudi Moustafa (@moustafamiloud1) September 13, 2020
وصلنا إلى الزمان الذي يُسمح فيه بنشر الفاحشة من أجل مصلحة الحاكم الشخصية! https://t.co/5OPT9I4sMZ
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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