Netflix pulls 'Patriot Act' episode critical of Saudi Arabia at the request of the Saudi government

Patriot Act critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Patriot Act critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Netflix has blocked an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj from streaming in Saudi Arabia at the request of the Saudi government.

The episode in question covers the torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi which US lawmakers say was sanctioned by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Minhaj mocks the Saudi government’s explanation for the journalist’s murder; they claim five rogue members of the regime orchestrated the killing without the Crown Prince’s knowledge and is seeking the death penalty for them.

“Saudis were struggling to explain his disappearance:,” the comedian says in the episode. “They said he left the consulate safely, then they used a body double to make it seem like he was alive.”

“At one point they were saying he died in a fist fight, Jackie Chan-style. They went through so many explanations. The only one they didn’t say was that Khashoggi died in a free solo rock-climbing accident.”

According to the Financial Times, the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission said the episode violated Article six of the kingdom’s anti-cybercrime law which bans the “production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers”.

“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 Netflix spokesman said.

The episode can still be watched on the official YouTube channel.

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