CEO Reed Hastings defends Netflix's compliance with overseas censorship

  • CEO Reed Hastings defends Netflix's compliance with overseas censorship

CEO Reed Hastings defends Netflix's compliance with overseas censorship

Hastings commented about the decision at a New York Times DealBook event this week.

"We can carry out a great deal much more by becoming enjoyment and affect the dialogue about the way persons stay, fairly than now being a different information channel", he included. Free-speech purists would like companies to do more to fight censorship in repressive countries like Saudi Arabia. In response to harsh criticism at the time, the company said "we strongly support artistic freedom worldwide", and that it only pulled the episode because "we had received a valid legal request - and to comply with local law". In the spring, Netflix, along with Disney and other major entertainment giants, threatened to boycott Georgia due its pro-life "heartbeat" law, which prohibits abortions in the state after a heartbeat is detected. "That's what you stand for", Hastings responded.

"You guys are a truth to power brand. And if you want to be an entertainment brand and it's really about sharing lifestyles, then you do have to draw hard lines, but they're around things that are around lifestyle, not, you know, the current news".

"We're not in the news business", Hastings said, as reported by Variety and The Hill. The episode slammed the Middle Eastern country following the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and criticized Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

While Hastings conceded there were some topics Netflix would not bend on, such as the portrayal of LGBTQ issues, the censured episode of Patriot Act was not one of those cases. American intelligence agencies believe the brutal killing of Khashoggi was carried out on orders from the crown prince. Minhaj also criticized Silicon Valley for taking investments from Saudi Arabia. A United Nations report also said the crown prince was likely involved. And he specifically brought up Minhaj, asking why they took the episode down.

The Saudi government apparently told Netflix that the episode violated the kingdom's laws against cybercrime. And Hastings went on to argue that it can actually do good in the world by playing ball with the Saudi government's censors.

"Clearly", Minhaj tweeted, "the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online, and then leave it up on YouTube".