Published Feb 07, 2020There's no denying that governments are intrinsically linked with media in one way or another. For global media brands like Netflix, that means a great deal of pressure from myriad global governments. Today, the streaming hub has revealed all of the content it has pulled under pressure from foreign governments.
Between 2015 and 2020, Netflix pulled nine titles from its service after government takedown demands.
"We offer creators the ability to reach audiences all around the world," Netflix said in its new 2019 Environmental Social Governance report. "In some cases we've also been forced to remove specific titles or episodes of titles in specific countries due to government takedown demands."
The company plans to release info on government-mandated removals on an annual basis.
The most notable takedown was an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, which was pulled in Saudi Arabia after the government demanded Netflix remove a segment that was critical of its regime.
Last fall, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he had no issue pulling the episode.
"We're not in the news business," Hastings said at the time [via Variety]. "We're not trying to do 'truth to power.' We're trying to entertain… We don't feel bad about [pulling the Patriot Act episode in Saudi Arabia] at all."
Attempting to save face, Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos added, "I think all entertainment is truth to power — all creative expression is truth to power. Stand-up comedy is certainly truth to power. A lot of great films have changed the course of history."
Other films and television shows removed from Netflix include The Last Hangover, The Last Temptation of Christ, Cooking on High, The Legend of 420 and Disjointed, all of which were blocked for release in Singapore.
Full Metal Jacket was removed from Vietnam after a written demand from the Vietnamese Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, Night of the Living Dead was removed in Germany and The Bridge was removed from New Zealand.
Read the full Netflix report here.