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Hasan Minhaj Jabs Saudi Arabia For Netflix Censorship

Hasan Minhaj Jabs Saudi Arabia For Netflix Censorship


Hasan Minhaj Jabs Saudi Arabia For Netflix Censorship

Comic Hasan Minhaj opened the season premiere of his Netflix present “Patriot Act” by instantly addressing how the streaming service gave into calls for from Saudi Arabia’s authorities final month to take away an episode vital of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“That is ‘Patriot Act’ — or because it’s identified in Saudi Arabia, ‘Error 404, not discovered,’” Minhaj stated at first of the primary episode of the present’s second season, which premiered Sunday. 

“I nonetheless can’t consider it. We acquired Saudi Arabia to difficulty its very personal Muslim ban,” he joked later, earlier than recapping “how I turned an Web unhealthy boy.”

Minhaj confirmed experiences that the Saudi authorities requested that Netflix take down an episode from October, during which Minhaj criticized bin Salman for reported involvement within the slaying of Washington Publish journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“A request? Does MBS suppose Netflix is a marriage DJ?” Minhaj joked Sunday. ”‘I’ve a fast request. Simply take down that one episode that’s criticizing me, and simply play Usher’s ‘Yeah.’” 

Whereas the episode is now not accessible for Netflix clients in Saudi Arabia, it’s nonetheless accessible on YouTube. Because the comic identified, the controversy has generated publicity for his present, backfiring for Saudi Arabia.

“For the primary time in my life, I used to be a bipartisan icon,” Minhaj stated. “Sure! Liberals and conservatives, they each embraced me like I used to be cash from Massive Pharma.”

In demanding Netflix pull the episode, the Saudi authorities cited the nation’s “anti-cybercrime” regulation, which prohibits Web content material that violates “public order, non secular values or public morals.”

“You’re telling me, even in Saudi jail, I’ll be related to the IT division?” Minhaj joked.

“Of all of the Netflix originals, the one present that Saudi Arabia thinks violates ‘Muslim values’ is the one hosted by a Muslim,” he continued, citing examples of different Netflix exhibits nonetheless accessible in Saudi Arabia that may probably violate the regulation.

″‘Sabrina,’ nonetheless up. It has literal satan worship and quite a lot of premarital witch intercourse. ‘BoJack Horseman’: There’s an alcoholic horse-man who snorts cocaine. And let’s not overlook these evil cooking exhibits,” Minhaj stated, displaying a number of clips of individuals making ready and consuming pork. “Not consuming pork is the one rule each Muslim agrees on!”

Regardless of his swipes at Saudi Arabia, “that is no joke for a lot of Saudi activists,” Minhaj famous. The identical “anti-cybercrime” regulation used to ban his episode has been used to imprison and execute activists and dissidents, in keeping with humanitarian organizations like Amnesty Worldwide.

The comic additionally addressed the bigger difficulty of censorship legal guidelines in authoritarian regimes, and instructed Netflix and different corporations must take care of extra censorship threats.

“This isn’t about simply censoring one episode of a TV present. It’s in regards to the precedent, as a result of as tech corporations maintain increasing, they’re going to maintain operating into extra imprecise censorship legal guidelines — legal guidelines that may permit governments to drag any content material at any time,” he stated. “Finally, Saudi doesn’t care about ‘immoral content material’ that ‘impinges on non secular values.’ They’re mad {that a} Muslim is airing out their soiled laundry.”

It was a becoming segue into the episode’s predominant phase: censorship and surveillance in China, with Minhaj assuring viewers that the episode wouldn’t be banned in China as a result of “Netflix isn’t in China,” he stated. “The one factor they binge watch is their very own individuals.”

  • This text initially appeared on HuffPost.

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