According to Saudi media, Netflix was ordered to remove content that they claim “violates Islamic and societal values and principles” by Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf Arab nations.
The statement claimed that the streaming behemoth’s content violated legal requirements, but it made no mention of which specific subjects or programs were in violation.
But it’s widely believed, and has been stated by local media and officials, that Netflix shows with homosexual characters, same-sex kissing, and portrayals of children as having sexual orientation are the things that the directive is intended to stop.
According to a statement released on Tuesday by the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media and the GCC Committee of Electronic Media Officials, the action was taken “in light of the recent observation that the platform was broadcasting visual material and content which violated content controls in GCC countries.”
The content “violates Islamic and societal values and principles. Therefore, the platform was contacted to ensure compliance with the law and to remove this content, including content aimed at children.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, is made up of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, all of which have a majority of conservative Muslims. In these nations, homosexuality is a crime that carries fines, jail time, and even the death penalty.
If Netflix disregards the government’s demand, legal action is also being threatened.
“All legal measures will be taken to protect the Kingdom’s sovereignty, citizens and residents from any intellectual attack aimed at affecting its societies, values, safety of upbringing their generations and protecting them from harmful content,” Esra Assery, CEO of the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media, told Saudi outlet Arab News.
There were no comments available on the issue from Netflix.
Tuesday, the Saudi state news channel Al Ekhbariya TV aired a televised report on the subject that included clips from the Netflix animated series “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous,” including a blurry scene of two female characters kissing and professing their love for one another.
Netflix promotes child homosexuality under a dramatic cover, according to Al Ekhbariya’s report, which was shared on the news outlet’s official Twitter account, which has 1.4 million followers. Will Saudi Arabia soon block Netflix?”.
Netflix threatens children’s healthy development and disseminates “immoral messages,” according to another tweet from the state network, which included a video and the hashtags “#CancelNetflix” and “#BoycottNetflix.”
The allegations have received no response from Netflix. However, many of its users in the U.S. and Europe have praised the streaming service for including LGBTQ+ characters and content, saying it sets a good example for inclusivity and representation. With 220 million subscribers worldwide as of last June, Netflix continues to have the most users of any paid streaming service.
According to a YouGov survey from September 2021, 37% of Saudi Arabian citizens use Netflix, making it the most widely used streaming service in the country.
Authorities in the oil-rich Arab Gulf states have fought with Western media about homosexual content numerous times before.
The cinematic release of Disney was prohibited in the Gulf nations and a number of other nations in East and South Asia in June.
The animated film “Lightyear” from Pixar gained notoriety for its depiction of a same-sex relationship and a fleeting same-sex kiss.
Additionally, the UAE government ordered Amazon, a major online retailer, to block searches for LGBTQ-related products on its UAE website in July. Soon after that, as part of a campaign against homosexuality, Saudi Arabian authorities raided several children’s stores and seized toys and clothing with rainbow themes, according to state media at the time.
The opposition to LGBTQ+ themes comes as some of the countries in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, work to diversify their economies and draw in new capital.
In order to draw talent from around the world, some of their strategies include liberalizing reforms and relaxing some previously strict social laws. Movie theaters were not allowed in Saudi Arabia until 2018. As a result of these reforms, they are now being built everywhere in the country, though some content is still subject to censorship.
The region’s laws on homosexuality have long come under fire from activists and human rights organizations, but the governments there argue that the laws are necessary to protect the region’s religious and cultural norms.
(Adapted from CNN.com)