Speaking on Sunday’s mid-season premiere, Minhaj criticized Netflix’s decision to remove the episode from its service in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis claimed that Minhaj’s criticism of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman violated its anti-cybercrime law, which lists “protection of public interest, morals and the common values” as one of its goals, and subjects the violators to potential imprisonment and a large fine.
The episode, which aired in the US last October, talked about big Salman’s alleged involvement in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which became a major international incident and led to Saudi threats that such associations were a major “red line” that should not be crossed.
Minhaj defended his segment by noting other Netflix originals still streaming in the Middle East that featured controversial topics, including Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, called a teen drama about “literal devil worship” and “a lot of premarital witch sex,” and “evil cooking shows” which show “porky goodness,” a violation of strict Muslim tenets.
“This isn’t about just censoring one episode of a TV show. It’s about the precedent,” Minhaj said. “Because as tech companies keep expanding, they’re going to keep running into more vague censorship laws — laws that can allow governments to pull any content at any time. Ultimately, [Saudi Arabia] doesn’t care about ‘immoral content’ that ‘impinges on religious values. They’re mad that a Muslim is airing out their dirty laundry.”