Hasan Minhaj responded to Netflix complying with Saudi Arabia’s demands that the streaming service block an episode of his talk show, saying on Wednesday that the move has only made the episode more popular.
The comments from the host of “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” come after Netflix took down an episode in which Minhaj criticized Saudi Arabia, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the United States for maintaining relations. The episode is still viewable outside Saudi Arabia and was still viewable through YouTube in the country within the last 24 hours.
Minhaj’s criticism came after the CIA determined that the crown prince, whom he refers to as MBS in the episode, ordered the October assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, despite the Saudi government’s claims to the contrary.
“MBS asked, ‘Why the outrage?’ and frankly, MBS’ confusion is completely understandable,” Minhaj said in the episode. “He has been getting away with autocratic shit like [Khashoggi’s killing] for years with almost no blowback from the international community.”
He also implored his followers on Wednesday to donate to Yemen, where airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have come under intense scrutiny since Khashoggi was slain, through the International Rescue Committee.
Netflix said the Saudi government claimed the episode violated the kingdom’s anti-cyber crime law and that it took the episode down only after it “received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law.”
Ironically, Minhaj dedicated his last episode of 2018 to discussing content moderation by tech companies.