A six-nation council of Arab nations has issued a joint statement calling on Netflix to remove certain “offensive” titles on the streaming service. An action that, while it didn’t specify which Netflix titles it was targeting, nevertheless seemed aimed at ones that depict gay and lesbian relationships.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, which issued the demand over the Netflix titles, includes the nations of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Along with the joint statement, the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE also published the statement on their own, aimed at Netflix titles that “contradict Islamic and societal values and principles.”
Gulf Arab countries threaten legal action over Netflix titles
State television in Saudi Arabia, for example, aired an interview with a woman who claimed to be a “behavioral consultant” who decried Netflix for operating as an “official sponsor of homosexuality.” State television there also aired footage from the Netflix animated series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. Two female characters at one point kiss in that series, though the footage was blurred.
This, of course, is the dark side of the global streaming arms race. A contest whereby services like Netflix, Disney+, and others are racing to sign up as many subscribers as possible outside of the US.
Speaking of Disney, for example, 13 Muslim nations along with the Palestinian territory just a few months ago banned the showing of Pixar’s film Lightyear in local cinemas.
Netflix, meanwhile, has controversially acceded to demands from the region before.
In 2019, because of a legal request from Saudi Arabia, the streamer pulled an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act show. That episode criticized Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
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