17 votes

Netflix CEO defends decision to pull Patriot Act episode in Saudi Arabia, says company isn’t in ‘truth to power business’

10 comments

  1. [10]
    MimicSquid
    Link
    Ok, I've never been a huge fan of American cultural hegemony, but trading that out for hiding anything that offends a particular government seems like a poor trade.

    Ok, I've never been a huge fan of American cultural hegemony, but trading that out for hiding anything that offends a particular government seems like a poor trade.

    11 votes
    1. [9]
      babypuncher
      Link Parent
      Their choice was probably pull the episode or get banned in Saudi Arabia. Near as I can tell, the episode was only pulled in Saudi Arabia, so I don't see why people are so upset. This would be...

      Their choice was probably pull the episode or get banned in Saudi Arabia.

      Near as I can tell, the episode was only pulled in Saudi Arabia, so I don't see why people are so upset. This would be pitchfork-worthy if Saudi Arabia's censorship was impacting what the rest of us get to see. But I guess people just want to be angry for any reason they can find.

      6 votes
      1. [7]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        I'm trying to be charitable, so I'll start with a question: Is your stance that censorship is fine, as long as it doesn't affect you?

        I'm trying to be charitable, so I'll start with a question: Is your stance that censorship is fine, as long as it doesn't affect you?

        13 votes
        1. [4]
          babypuncher
          Link Parent
          I'm not entirely sure what you expect Netflix to do here. Get banned in SA? Should they risk the livelihoods of Netflix employees who work there by breaking the law? I get it, censorship is wrong,...

          I'm not entirely sure what you expect Netflix to do here. Get banned in SA? Should they risk the livelihoods of Netflix employees who work there by breaking the law?

          I get it, censorship is wrong, and Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian shithole. I just have a hard time criticizing people for choosing not to break local laws, regardless of how asinine they are. I don't imagine Saudi Arabian prisons are all that great of a place to live.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            Given that there's minimal physical infrastructure, it would not be difficult to walk away from SA. Offer the few (if any) local employees positions at other locations and be gone. No one needs to...

            Given that there's minimal physical infrastructure, it would not be difficult to walk away from SA. Offer the few (if any) local employees positions at other locations and be gone. No one needs to break the law or be arrested, they just say that SA's restrictions are incompatible with the society they want to see in the world and leave.

            What they've done is decided that the money they make there is more important.

            7 votes
            1. [2]
              babypuncher
              Link Parent
              I guess I don't think they should have to do that just because they disagree with the local laws and culture. Freedom of expression is a very important right in Western cultures, but do Saudi...

              I guess I don't think they should have to do that just because they disagree with the local laws and culture. Freedom of expression is a very important right in Western cultures, but do Saudi Arabian citizens even care? Should Netflix abandon their employees and customers in a country over something those people view as a minor or non-issue?

              I would think a gradual exposure to western ideals would be more effective at eventually changing attitudes and policy over there rather than an all-or-nothing approach.

              2 votes
              1. MimicSquid
                Link Parent
                They shouldn't have to do that. However, given SA's attitude towards dissent of any sort, that is the way to protect themselves and their employees, as you pointed out earlier in the thread. I...

                They shouldn't have to do that. However, given SA's attitude towards dissent of any sort, that is the way to protect themselves and their employees, as you pointed out earlier in the thread.

                I don't know whether SA citizens care about freedom of expression, and it's hard to know precisely because their government will murder journalists who try to report on them. But the question was not about whether the local populace likes their local standards, it's whether Netflix shares the standards that we do in the west. And here we see how much Netflix will cave to restrictive local standards in order to keep making money.

                2 votes
        2. [2]
          Adys
          Link Parent
          Who do you get to be angry at when something gets censored, the censor with all the control, or the publisher?

          Who do you get to be angry at when something gets censored, the censor with all the control, or the publisher?

          3 votes
      2. Litmus2336
        Link Parent
        The question is "Does Netflix have any political capital to influence SA". The answer probably is, not that much. That said, if multiple companies banded together, they might influence SA. So no,...

        The question is "Does Netflix have any political capital to influence SA". The answer probably is, not that much.

        That said, if multiple companies banded together, they might influence SA.

        So no, it's not like Netflix really had a choice, assuming the choices are only 1) censor the episode or 2) get banned in SA. But there is a third choice, which would involve seeking outside support to stand against SA. But of course, they aren't in the "truth to power business"

        4 votes