Hasan Minhaj reacts after Netflix pulls episode of his show in Saudi Arabia

FILE - In this May 10, 2017 file photo, Muslim-American comedian Hasan Minhaj cracks jokes for the audience after New York Ma
FILE - In this May 10, 2017 file photo, Muslim-American comedian Hasan Minhaj cracks jokes for the audience after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed May 10th as "Hasan Minhaj Day," at Gracie Mansion, in New York. In December 2018, Netflix is facing criticism for pulling an episode, from viewing in Saudi Arabia of Minhaj's "Patriot Act" that lambasted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led war in Yemen. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Comedian Hasan Minhaj said the Saudi-led war in Yemen is the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis” as Netflix was criticised for removing an episode of his satirical show following a complaint from the kingdom’s rulers.

Episode two of the US comic’s Patriot Act was pulled in Saudi Arabia after it criticised Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman over the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the kingdom’s royal family, was killed at the the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Hasan Minhaj
Hasan Minhaj has reacted after Netflix pulled an episode of his satirical comedy show following a Saudi complaint (Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP)

Netflix said it took the episode down in Saudi Arabia after receiving a complaint from the kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission that it violated Saudi anti-cybercrime law.

The episode in question is reportedly still available in Saudi Arabia on YouTube.

After the incident made headlines around the world, Minhaj tweeted his reaction to the ban before urging his followers to donate to the crisis in Yemen.

He said: “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.

“Let’s not forget that the world’s largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now.”

Minhaj also shared a link to the International Rescue Committee’s relief effort in the country.

After receiving criticism for taking the episode down, Netflix said in a statement: “We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal demand from the government – and to comply with local law.”

The offending episode featured Minhaj criticising the crown prince’s alleged involvement in the death of Mr Khashoggi.

He said: “It took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go, ‘Oh, I guess he’s really not a reformer’.”

Saudi Arabia has charged 11 people with the death of Mr Khashoggi, though strongly denies the crown prince ordered the killing.

In December, the US Senate passed a resolution saying the crown prince is responsible for the death.

Karen Attiah, Mr Khashoggi’s editor at The Washington Post, said Netflix’s decision to remove the episode was “quite outrageous”.


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