Netflix removed an episode of its show “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” from streaming in Saudi Arabia after the Saudi government complained that the episode which was critical of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman over the recent murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yamen.
Minhaj also criticised financial links between Saudi Arabia and the US and alleged local human rights abuses.
In a statement, the streaming company defended the decision to pull the segment. “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.”
The episode, titled “Saudi Arabia,” is still available on Netflix in all other territories. In addition, the bulk of the segment remains available worldwide on Netflix’s YouTube channel for the show.
Critics accused Netflix of caving in to the demands of a repressive government seeking to snuff out freedom of expression.
Responding to the ban, Minhaj tweeted: "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," Minhaj tweeted.
He then called for donations to help people in war-torn Yemen. "Let's not forget that the world's largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now. Please donate: https://help.rescue.org/donate/yemen