Netflix row: Hasan Minhaj pokes fun at removal of show criticising Saudi Arabia | Media

The comedian Hasan Minhaj has spoken out after Netflix took down an episode of his satirical comedy show that criticised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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.”

He added: “Let’s not forget that the world’s largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now,” and urged fans to donate to the relief effort of the International Rescue Committee.

Episode two of the US comic’s Patriot Act show was pulled in Saudi Arabia by Netflix after it received a complaint from the kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission that it violated Saudi anti-cybercrime law.

Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the kingdom’s royal family, was killed at the the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

The episode in question is reportedly still available in Saudi Arabia on YouTube.

After receiving criticism for taking the episode down, Netflix said in a statement: “We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal demand from the government – and to comply with local law.”

The episode featured Minhaj criticising the crown prince’s alleged involvement in the death of Khashoggi. He said: “It took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go ‘Oh, I guess he’s really not a reformer.’”

Saudi Arabia has charged 11 people over the death, though strongly denies the crown prince ordered the killing.

In December the US Senate passed a resolution saying the crown prince is responsible for the death.

Karen Attiah, Khashoggi’s editor at the Washington Post, said Netflix’s decision to remove the episode was “quite outrageous”.


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