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Netflix Releases Gov't-Demanded TV Show/Movie Pull List: Germany's "Living Dead" Problem; Saudi Arabia's Not In on Hasan Minhaj's "Patriot Act" & More
Sorry, Germany: it's no Night of the Living Dead for you. Looks like Saudi Arabia can't handle Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act. Those are just two of the films and television shows Netflix has pulled at the urging of governments and their agencies between 2015-2020 . Other titles include The Last Hangover, The Last Temptation of Christ, Cooking on High, The Legend of 420, and Disjointed.
The news comes from the streamer's recently-released 2019 ESG report, which Netflix says it will report annually (as other internet companies have) to increase their efforts at transparency. Covering its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance, the report will use the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) foundation as the standard.
Sometimes, the streamer wins – as was the case with The First Temptation of Christ, a comedy from Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos. Depicting Jesus Christ as a gay man, the show was ordered taken down by a Brazilian judge in January 2020. Netflix appealed the ruling to the country's Supreme Court, where it was overturned.
"We offer creators the ability to reach audiences all around the world. In some cases we've also been forced to remove specific titles or episodes of titles in specific countries due to government takedown demands."
– Netflix (statement)
As of February 2020, the list of shows and films that Netflix removed over the 0ast five years is as follows:
● 2020: The Last Hangover, original special from Brazil's Porta dos Fundos, removed in Singapore after written demand from the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
● 2019: Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj ("Saudi Arabia") removed in Saudi Arabia after a written demand from the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission. Officials complained that Minhaj made unfair accusations against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS) and his role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
● 2019: The Last Temptation of Christ, banned in Singapore – removed after written demand from the IMDA.
● 2018: Cooking on High, The Legend of 420, and Disjointed removed in Singapore after demand from the IMDA.
● 2017: Full Metal Jacket removed in Vietnam after written demand from the Vietnamese Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information (ABEI).
● 2017: Night of the Living Dead, banned in Germany – removed in the country after a written demand from the German Commission for Youth Protection (KJM).
● 2015: The Bridge, a documentary film about suicide attempts on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge classified as "objectionable" in New Zealand, removed after a written demand from New Zealand Film and Video Labeling Body.