Hasan Minhaj seemingly struck a chord in Saudi Arabia with a recent episode of his show “Patriot Act.”
The Saudi Arabian government requested Netflix take down an episode of the show that included criticism of the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi embassy late last year.
The government cited its Anti Cyber-Crime Law, which aims to ensure the “enhancement of information security,” “protection of rights pertaining to the legitimate use of computers and information networks,” protection of public interest, morals and common values” and “protection of national economy.”
A source told the Daily News that the streaming service only complied to the request because of the legal issues.
“We strongly support artistic freedom 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 said in a statement to The News.
The episode is still available elsewhere on Netflix, as well as on YouTube, where it has been viewed more than 1.2 million times already, as of Monday afternoon.
“It blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go, ‘Oh, I guess he’s really not a reformer,'” Minhaj said of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the October episode.
“Meanwhile, every Muslim person you know was like, ‘Yeah, no s–t. He’s the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.’ So now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia — and I mean that as a Muslim and as an American.”
The show host also referred to Saudia Arabia as “the boy band manager of 9/11” and said the crown prince has been getting away with similar atrocities “for years with almost no blowback from the international community.”
The Saudi Arabian government has denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s death, despite reports to the contrary from agencies in both the United States and Turkey. President Trump has refused to place any blame with the Crown Prince, a close ally of son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.
This isn’t the first time Netflix has puled episodes at the request of a foreign government: “Disjointed,” “Cooking on High” and “The Legend of 420” were all removed in Singapore after objections from the government over “their perceived positive influence/portrayal on drug use,” which is illegal in the country, a spokesperson told The News.
Minhaj, a former “Daily Show” correspondent, launched his variety show in October, making him the first Indian-American to host a weekly comedy show.
He has not commented publicly on his episode being yanked offline.
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