In his inimitable style, popular comic Hasan Minhaj has responded to Netflix's decision of dropping an episode from his special 'Patriot Act' in Saudi Arabia, saying the move has piqued the interest of the viewer.
The episode of the show, which premiered in October 2018, featured a segment criticising the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's alleged involvement in Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Minhaj, an American-born Muslim, named the Crown Prince in Khashoggi's killing and was also critical of the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.
The comic took to Twitter Wednesday to comment on Netflix complying with the country's demands. "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," he wrote.
Minhaj, 33, also urged his followers to donate to Yemen, where air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition have come under intense scrutiny since Khashoggi was slain, through the International Rescue Committee. "Let's not forget that the world's largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now. Please donate," he wrote sharing the link.
Netflix confirmed Tuesday that it removed an episode of the satirical comedy show that criticises Saudi Arabia after officials in the kingdom reportedly complained. "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.
The said episode can still be seen in other parts of the world - and in Saudi Arabia on YouTube. In October, the press freedom watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranked Saudi Arabia as 169th out of 180 countries for press freedom, adding that "it will very probably fall even lower in the 2019 index because of the gravity of the violence and abuses of all kinds against journalists."
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