Exclusive: Netflix Denies Any Plans to Produce a Series on Saudi's MBS

Published December 9th, 2020 - 07:22 GMT
Exclusive: Netflix Officially Denies Any Plans to Produce a Series on Saudi's MBS
Responding to the news that didn't include the name of the show, many social media users expressed shock and condemnation. (Al Bawaba)

An Arabic-speaking Twitter account with the name "Netflix info" has announced what they described as the "streaming service's plans to produce a limited series that highlights achievements and decisions of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman". While internet people didn't seem very thrilled about the news, Netflix has debunked the rumor of any current plans to produce any works connected to the Saudi heir and referred users to its official site where planned series are being announced. 

Translation: "Officially, a limited series of six episodes will be produced to talk about the rise of the young prince Mohammad Bin Salman, and his efforts to combat terrorism, support women, and other issues."

However, the rumor claimed that a six-episode limited series will shed light on the positive achievements of the young de facto ruler of Saudi often referred to as MBS.

According to the debunked tweet, the show "is meant to dedicate screen time to discuss the different social reforms the prince has initiated in the conservative country, including allowing women to drive, relaxing attire rules on women", in addition to what they said are his "efforts to combat terrorism."

Responding to the rumor that didn't include the name of the alleged show, many social media users expressed shock and condemnation, saying that the prince's name, while promoted as a reformer by the local press, is linked to numerous human rights violations, whether in his own country or in neighboring Yemen where his troops have been controlling and striking over more than five years.

Some also pointed at the "striking hypocrisy" of portraying Saudi's strong man as an open-minded reformer, while he continues to keep liberal activists in jail, including members of his own royal family.

Prior to the Netflix statement denying the news, many social media users had pledged to boycott the show. Moreover, several Twitter users remembered the slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, which sparked a botched attempt for a cover-up, including statements of the Saudi prince to the international press denying knowing anything about his fate, before confessing to the murder several weeks later.

Yet, this is not the first controversy including the Saudi Crown Prince and Netflix. Last September, Netflix' CEO Reed Hastings revealed that his company has had a "cheap bargain" with Saudi Arabia, agreeing to take an episode of a comedy show, that was deemed deeply critical of MBS, off the streaming service in Saudi Arabia, in exchange for several "daring" shows such as Sex Education, Orange is the New Black and others.

Currently, the Saudi Crown Prince's legal team in the United States is facing a rough lawsuit filed by a former top intelligence major-general, who is accusing MBS of having attempted to kill him while in Canada back in October 2018, by a hit squad similar to the one that carried out the Khashoggi's murder during the same month.

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