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Hasan Minhaj Patriot Act.png

'We're Not in the Truth to Power Business': Netflix CEO Explains Pulling 'Patriot Act' Episode in Saudi Arabia

By Kayleigh Donaldson | TV | November 7, 2019 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | TV | November 7, 2019 |

Hasan Minhaj Patriot Act.png

In January, Netflix pulled an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s series Patriot Act from screening in Saudi Arabia due to its critical commentary on the country’s crown prince. In the episode, Minhaj talked about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his alleged role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Minhaj noted, ‘It blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go, ‘oh I guess he’s really not a reformer.’ Meanwhile, every Muslim person you know was like, ‘yeah no s**t.” You can watch the section on YouTube now.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who was interviewed Wednesday by Andrew Ross Sorkin at the Dealbook Conference held by The New York Times, defended the decision in maybe the worst way possible? Well, it’s certainly the most soulless and capitalism-friendly manner. As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, Hastings said:

We’re not in the ‘truth to power’ business, we’re in the entertainment business. We can accomplish a lot more by being entertainment and influencing a global conversation about how people live than trying to be another news channel. If they can came to us and said you can’t have gay content, we wouldn’t do that. We would not comply with that.’

So, you can influence the ‘global conversation’ through entertainment but only when it doesn’t impact your bottom line or piss off potentially lucrative investments? You’ll stick up for gay content but f*ck everyone living under the tyrannical rule of a dictator implicated in the violent death of a journalist, right? Are all your very popular true-crime series sitting out that whole ‘speaking truth to power’ lark? What about the documentaries that won you Oscars for taking on the conflict in Syria and the mass doping scandal of sporting? Do they not count because at least they don’t call out the leaders of countries where major entertainment conglomerates are bending their ethics for the highest bidder?

Yeah, I call bullsh*t on this. It’s embarrassing enough when Disney, Blizzard, and the NBA all got on their knees to plead for mercy from China. This is another reason we should be skeptical of growing media monopolies. No matter how much power they have, they always want more and are happy to side with the worst figures to get it.

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Kayleigh is a features writer for Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter or listen to her podcast, The Hollywood Read.

Header Image Source: YouTube // Netflix