Netflix Streams 'Queer Eye,' 'Orange is the New Black' in Saudi Arabia with 'Troubling Compromise'

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday September 19, 2020

'Queer Eye'
'Queer Eye'  (Source:Netflix)

Saudi Arabia has allowed Netflix to stream LGBTQ-centric series "Queer Eye" and "Orange is the New Black" over what Netflix Co-CEO Reed Hastings characterized to CNN as a "troubling compromise."

The compromise: Netflix removed an episode of Hasan Minhaj's "Patriot Act," in which the comedian criticized the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi government said that such criticisms are a violation of law. Though Netflix was able to leave the episode up on YouTube, it was removed from the streaming platform — and this allowed the streaming giant to offer "Queer Eye" and "Orange is the New Black" to Saudi watchers.

Because homosexuality is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, LGBTQ people face imprisonment, violent punishment, and the death penalty. Government authorities and vigilantes have also targeted LGBTQ people. In the latter instance, a pair of gay Saudi journalists sought asylum in Australia at the end of last year over fears for their lives after being outed in their home country.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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