Netflix: Gulf states demand removal of ‘offensive’ content

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries called on Netflix on Tuesday to remove “offensive content” on the streaming platform.

Council members said in a joint statement that the unspecified content “contradicts Islamic and social values ​​and principles” and threatened to take legal action against Netflix if it was not removed.

The statement also said that Netflix was streaming content that violated the media content regulations in place in the Gulf countries.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also released the statement on their own government channels. California-based Netflix has not yet responded to the statement.

The GCC is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Omar and Qatar.

Saudi state television airs video condemning same-sex relationships

A Saudi state television channel aired an interview on Tuesday with a woman, identified as a “behavior consultant,” who described Netflix as an “official sponsor of homosexuality.”

At the same time, it also broadcast footage of a cartoon show with two women hugging each other, though the part was blurred.

Saudi state television also aired a segment suggesting that Netflix could be banned if the show reached children.
In the joint statement, the GCC countries asked Netflix to also remove some of its children’s content.

Requirements to remove LGBTQ content

Despite only speculation that LGBTQ content was asked to be removed, several Middle Eastern countries have previously specifically asked companies to remove scenes featuring gays and lesbians kissing.

In June, several countries in the Middle East and Asia, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, banned the theatrical screening of Disney’s animated film “Lightyear” because it featured characters in a same-sex relationship and because it was in against the regulatory standards of the media in those countries.

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After that, the Disney+ streaming service said its content should “align with local regulatory requirements” in the Gulf countries.

Homosexuality is considered a crime in many Middle Eastern countries, and Iran reportedly sentenced two LGBTQ activists to death on “human trafficking” charges on Monday.

In 2019, Netflix removed an episode of “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” from its streaming service in Saudi Arabia because it was critical of the kingdom.

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