Netflix has removed an episode of “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” from its service in Saudi Arabia after the country’s government flagged the episode for being in violation of its anti-cyber crime law.
Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) flagged the episode, titled “Saudi Arabia,” which it said was in violation of the country’s anti-cybercrime law.
In the episode, which was the second one of the series and aired shortly after the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Minhaj was critical of the Saudi government, in particular, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
“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 said in the episode.
“MBS asked, ‘Why the outrage?’ and frankly, MBS’ confusion is completely understandable. He has been getting away with autocratic s— like [Khashoggi’s killing] for years with almost no blowback from the international community,” he added.
Later in the episode, Minhaj also criticized Silicon Valley for taking investments from Saudi Arabia.
Netflix confirmed to TheWrap that the episode was removed from its service in Saudi Arabia and that the request was only to remove it from its service. The episode is still available in the country on YouTube.
“We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law,” a Netflix spokesperson told TheWrap.
Minhaj responded to the removal in a tweet on Wednesday:
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.
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) January 2, 2019
Saudi Arabia’s CTIC didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The Financial Times was first to report the news of the episode’s removal.