Gulf Arab countries demand Netflix remove ‘offensive content’ as streaming service pushes LGBT shows and films

FAN Editor

Several Gulf Arab countries have requested Netflix remove some of its “offensive content” from the streaming service citing a violation of its “values.”

In a joint statement issued by the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Committee of Electronic Media, the six-country council said some shows and movies on the platform “violated Islamic and societal values and principles.”

The council’s committee also requested the streaming service remove content “directed at children and to ensure adherence to the laws.”

The Netflix logo on a black background

The Netflix logo appears on a tablet in North Andover, Mass., Jan. 17, 2017. Gulf Arab countries on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, asked Netflix to remove “offensive content” on the streaming service, apparently targeting programs that feature gay relations (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File / AP Newsroom)

“In the event that the violating content continues to be available, the necessary legal measures will be taken,” it also said. The statement did not elaborate further.

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The countries that signed the statement included Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia’s own General Commission For Audiovisual Media (GCAM) demanded the content be removed or it would threaten legal action, the Saudi Gazette reported.

Saudi television outlet Al Ekhbariya TV said the conflict with Netflix comes as the platform has more openly displayed gay and lesbian content.

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A photo of a cell phone with the Netflix logo

In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on a smartphone.  (Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The outlet accused Netflix of being “cinematic cover for immoral messages that threaten the healthy upbringing of children,” BBC reported.

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Al Ekhbariya also said the platform promoted “homosexuality by focusing excessively on homosexuals.”

During news coverage, the Saudi television outlet aired a scene from an animated Jurassic Park show marketed for children that features a kissing scene between two of the female characters.

A television remote featuring a Netflix button

In this illustration photo taken on July 19, 2022, the Netflix logo is seen on a TV remote in Los Angeles.  (CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The call to remove content comes after several countries in the same region pushed back on Disney for a scene featuring lesbians in the new “Lightyear” film. Disney responded to the controversy by saying the release of its content would reflect local values.

All “content available should align with local regulatory requirements,” the company said.

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Netflix has yet to address the request. It has, however, previously complied with such requests.  

The Saudi Crown Prince smiling

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a meeting on November 14, 2017, in Riyadh. (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In 2019, the streaming service removed an episode in Saudi Arabia as it featured a comedian criticizing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Netflix said the decision was legal and not due to its content.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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