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Netflix asked by Arab countries to remove ‘offensive content’

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates –

Gulf Arab states on Tuesday asked Netflix to remove “offensive content” on the streaming service, which appears to target gay and lesbian shows.

A joint statement was issued on behalf of a Gulf Cooperation Council committee that made the request, saying the unidentified programs “contradict the values ​​and principles of Islam and society.” .

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also released statements through their respective governments. They, along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, form the six-nation council.

Although the statement did not elaborate, Saudi state television also aired a video of an interview it conducted with a woman identified as a “behavior consultant” who described Netflix is ​​the “official sponsor of homosexuality.” It aired at the same time footage of an animated movie featuring two women embracing and kissing, although the footage was blurred.

Saudi state TV also aired a segment suggesting that Netflix may be banned in the kingdom because of the programming’s reach to children.

Netflix, which is headquartered in Los Gatos, California, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The move comes after countries in the Muslim world in June banned the public from showing Disney’s latest animated film “Lightyear” for a brief moment that showed two lesbian characters kissing. The company’s Disney+ streaming service then said its “available content must conform to local regulatory requirements” in the Gulf Arab countries.

Many Muslims consider homosexuality and lesbianism a sin. In some parts of the Arab world, members of the LGBTQ community have been arrested and sentenced to prison. Some countries even maintain the death penalty.

The move also comes as streaming services in the region try to eat into Netflix’s revenue, including the Shahid service run by Saudi Arabia-owned MBC Group. The Saudi government is believed to have taken a controlling stake in MBC Group following a series of arrests in 2017 ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over corruption allegations that showed he concentrated power in the kingdom. country.

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