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The episode in question featured a segment that criticized the country for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. Minhaj levied blame on the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi’s murder, calling it the “biggest tragedy of the MBS era.”
Later in the show, Minhaj also suggested that Silicon Valley tech companies should cut financial ties with the country.
According to Netflix, the company received a legal request from the Saudi government to remove the episode from its platform, though the episode remains available on YouTube.
A Netflix spokesperson added in a statement: “We strongly support artistic freedom and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law.”
The episode is still available on Netflix in the U.S.
Minhaj, a former Daily Show correspondent who also hosted the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2017, debuted his Netflix show in October.
Khashoggi’s death sent ripples through Hollywood. In October, Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor company returned a $400 million investment it had received from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, overseen by Crown Prince bin Salman. Meanwhile, public outcries against musical acts such as the Black Eyed Peas and Jason DeRulo urged performers to cancel planned appearances in the country. Netflix has been available in Saudi Arabia since 2016.
Minhaj responded to the episode being pulled on Wednesday with a sarcastic tweet: “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 added: “Let’s not forget that the world’s largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now. Please donate: https://help.rescue.org/donate/yemen”
Jan. 2, 11 a.m.: Updated with Minhaj’s response.
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