Netflix pulls Hasan Minhaj episode critical of Saudi Arabia government
In a statement to the Financial Times, Netflix stressed that it believed in “artistic freedom” and that it only pulled the episode after receiving a “valid legal request.” The episode is still available in other countries, and Saudi Arabian residents can watch the episode on YouTube as we write this.
It’s not clear how often Netflix has pulled shows over legal objections, since it doesn’t publish transparency reports like some tech firms. This is certainly a high-profile example, though, and it shows that Netflix is in the same boat as many of its internet peers. While it can argue for freedom of expression, it’s ultimately at the mercy of local laws if it wants to do business in a given country. There’s not much else it can do short of withdrawing from Saudi Arabia entirely.