The Daily Telegraph
‘Excessively homosexual’ Netflix must take down un-islamic same-sex kiss, say Saudis
Gulf states order Jurassic World cartoon be censored by the streaming service to protect children
‘This is cinematic cover for immoral messages that threaten the healthy upbringing of children’
THE Gulf states have demanded Netflix removes “un-islamic” content, accusing the streaming service of “focusing excessively on homosexuals”.
The order was an apparent reference to the same-sex kiss in the cartoon Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous.
The Gulf Co-operation Council and the Saudi media regulator said in a joint statement that Netflix had been asked to take down such content, “including content directed to children”.
It added that the authorities “will fol- low up on the platform’s compliance with the directives, and in the event that the infringing content continues to be broadcast, the necessary legal measures will be taken”.
The council’s statement did not specify the content that had caused offence, but Saudi media reports cited a scene in Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous in which two female characters kiss. One TV report showed an extract of the kiss in question but blurred out the characters’ heads.
The same scene recently prompted an investigation by media regulators in Hungary, which is governed by the hard-right prime minister Viktor Orban. State broadcaster Al Ekhbariya TV condemned the content as “cinematic cover for immoral messages that threaten the healthy upbringing of children” in a report it posted on Twitter.
State TV also cited the French film Cuties, which has caused controversy in the West over claims it sexualises young girls. Another video on Saudi state media accused Netflix of “focussing excessively on homosexuals”.
The Daily Telegraph approached Netflix in Saudi Arabia for comment. It is unclear what steps Netflix will take in response to the warning. Under Saudi Arabia’s interpretation of Islamic law, homosexuality can be punished by either flogging or death, while sexual relations outside marriage are banned.
A similar row emerged between Netflix and Turkey in June 2020 when Turkish authorities denied permission for a series to be produced in the country owing to it having a gay character.
In one of the most high-profile cases involving Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on homosexuality, a man was sentenced in 2010 to 500 lashes for having a samesex relationship.
In April, Saudi Arabia pulled the Marvel superhero film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness from cinemas after Disney refused to remove “LGBT references”. The BBC also reported that Lightyear, based on the Toy Story franchise, was banned in the United Arab Emirates this year over a same-sex kiss.
In June, Saudi authorities confiscated rainbow coloured-toys and clothing for children, claiming that they “contradict the Islamic faith and public morals, and promote homosexual colours”.
Shops caught selling rainbow products reportedly face legal penalties.
In 2020, a Saudi court jailed and then deported a Yemeni blogger for posting a message on social media which called for equal rights for citizens, including gay people.
And in July this year, Saudi asked Youtube to take down “inappropriate” adverts without giving examples.