Persian Gulf countries have asked Netflix to remove “offensive content” from the streaming platform, referring to shows that feature gays and lesbians, the Associated Press reported.
A joint statement issued on behalf of a committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council said that these productions are “contrary to Islamic and social values and principles.”
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also issued the statement through their governments. These two countries along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar enter into a regional organization.
Although the statement did not elaborate, Saudi state television also aired video of an interview conducted with a woman described as a “behavioral consultant” who described Netflix as an “official sponsor of homosexuality.” At the same time, television broadcast footage from the animated movie “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous” in which two women kiss, but the footage was blurry.
Los Gatos, California-based Netflix did not respond to requests for comment, the AP noted.
In June, countries in the Muslim world banned public screenings of Disney’s latest animated film, “Baz Lightyear,” due to a brief kissing moment between two women. The company’s streaming platform, Disney+, said then that its “accessible content must meet local regulatory requirements” in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.
Many Muslims consider homosexuals and lesbians to be sinners. In some parts of the Arab world, members of the LGBTQ+ community have been arrested and sentenced to prison. In some countries, the death penalty is even applied.
The request to Netflix also comes at a time when regional streaming services are trying to cut Netflix’s revenue, including the Shahid service, run by Saudi-owned MBC Group. The Saudi government is believed to have a majority stake in MBC Group following a series of arrests in 2017 ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on corruption charges in which he centralized power in the kingdom.
Netflix has already restricted its content in Saudi Arabia.
In 2019, activists criticized the streaming service for pulling an episode of comedian Hassan Minhaj’s series Patriot Act, which criticized Prince Mohammed for the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the kingdom’s involvement in the war in Yemen. At the time, Netflix said the episode was removed from the realm as a result of a legal request from authorities, not because of its content.