Netflix has removed an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj in Saudi Arabia after its government complained about the variety show’s criticism of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, according to reports.
“Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia. And I mean that as a Muslim and as an American,” Minhaj says in the now-banned episode entitled “Saudi Arabia,” before discussing Khashoggi, who, at the behest of the crown prince, was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
“MBS asked, ‘Why the outrage?’ and frankly, MBS’ confusion is completely understandable. He has been getting away with autocratic shit like for years with almost no blowback from the international community,” Hasan Minhaj continued.
In a statement to the Financial Times, which first reported the episode’s removal, the streaming giant confirmed it was recently taken down “after the country’s Communications and Information Technology Commission made a request to take it down because it allegedly violated the kingdom’s anti-cyber crime law.”
“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,” a press representative for Netflix said.
Citing Article 6 of Saudi Arabia’s anti-cybercrime law, regulators told Netflix that “production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers” is punishable by a five-year prison sentence and an $800,000 fine.
The episode is still available on YouTube in Saudi Arabia.