During its rise to power in the entertainment world, Netflix has faced a boat load of criticism from competitors and subscribers alike. Netflix has dealt with the Kevin Spacey fiasco and been accused of poaching employees away from other companies. Not to mention, the streaming service has dealt with rumors that they are grossly in debt as they continue to spend to make more profit along the way. However, nothing Netflix has dealt with has come down that far in to the world of politics. Today, Amnesty International came down hard on the streaming service for its recent actions regarding the series, Patriot Act.
The streaming service has been in the news recently because of its decision to remove an episode of their Hasan Minhaj led series, Patriot Act. The episode discussed the murder of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, at Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. Among other things, the show discussed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and their handling of dissenting media.
Nearly two months after the episode was place on the service, Netflix moved to take the episode down citing a legal complaint form the country of Saudi Arabia. When the decision was made, Samah Hadid of Amnesty International stated, “By bowing to the Saudi Arabian authorities’ demands, Netflix is in danger of facilitating the Kingdom’s zero-tolerance policy on freedom of expression and assisting the authorities in denying people’s right to freely access information.” The show’s host Hasan Minhaj also added, “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.”
Netflix responded to the criticism in a timely statement. Netflix officials stated, “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.”