On Tuesday, Netflix announced that it would be pulling an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s comedy show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj from the Saudi Arabian version of the streaming service after the Middle Eastern country’s government put pressure on them.
According to their explanation for the decision, they “only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law,” per a previous report by the Inquisitr. But the comedian has since spoken up to share his view of the controversy caused by the episode.
During the segment, Minhaj was critical of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, and blasted the kingdom for the slaying of dissident Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia’s reaction, according to Minhaj, will only encourage more people to watch the show, Business Insider reported.
Minhaj described it as Saudi Arabia “playing themselves” by making such a big deal of the segment because it only encouraged more people to talk about and watch the episode. According to the comedian, the result was that the episode ended up going viral, rather than killing it as the kingdom would have wanted.
“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 wrote sarcastically on Twitter.
Netflix faces criticism for pulling an episode in Saudi Arabia of comedian Hasan Minhaj's "Patriot Act" that criticized the kingdom's powerful crown prince. https://t.co/fhfhe4wuXr pic.twitter.com/R2jUJjj9Ba— ABC News (@ABC) January 3, 2019
In the segment, Minhaj criticized the cover-up of Khashoggi’s death, the power and wealth of the royal family, the relationship between the U.S. and major technology companies with Saudi Arabia, and also talked about the Saudi war that is being waged in Yemen.
Minhaj, who is also a Muslim, said that he feels that Saudi Arabia “does not represent our values” and feels that the United States should “reassess [its] relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
After it was pulled from the streaming service, Minhaj encouraged people to donate money to the victims of the horrific conflict in Yemen, calling it “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.”
According to the law in Saudi Arabia, “production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers” is banned in the country. After citing this complaint to Netflix, the streaming service decided to bow to their request to remove the segment of Minhaj’s show.
The law states that those caught violating it can face a fine of up to $800,000 and five years in prison.