Netflix drops episode of Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia

The show starring Hasan Minhaj reportedly violated the Kingdom's cybercrime law

Hasan Minhaj in Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. Cara Howe/Netflix

Netflix confirmed on Tuesday that it removed an episode of a satirical comedy show that criticises Saudi Arabia after officials in the kingdom reportedly complained.

In the episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, the American-born Muslim criticsed Saudi Arabia over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The episode has only been pulled from the streaming service in Saudi Arabia, it can still be seen across the rest of the world.

Minhaj specifically criticised Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and also spoke about the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.

"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," a Netflix spokeswoman said in a statement.

British newspaper the Financial Times said Netflix's action came after the kingdom's Communications and Information Technology Commission said the episode violated the cybercrime law.

The Saudi Information Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Minhaj, 33, has seen his profile rise steadily. His routines combine personal history and political commentary wrapped in edgy topical humor.

In 2014, he became senior correspondent on Comedy Central's popular The Daily Show, and in 2017 was the featured speaker at the White House Correspondents' dinner. Patriot Act debuted in October 2018.


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