I knew this moment was coming, I just didn’t think it would arrive so soon.
During an interview at the The New York Times Dealbook Conference, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was asked about a recent decision to pull down a particular episode of Hasan Minhaj’s show Patriot Act in Saudi Arabia. The episode in question had offered some harsh criticism of Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman aka MBS. In response, the government sent Netflix a letter demanding it be removed. Hastings complied with that demand. When asked about it today, he said Netflix is an entertainment company, not a news company.
“Well, we’re not in the news business,” Hastings said. He continued, “We’re not trying to do truth-to-power. We’re trying to entertain. And we can pick fights with governments about newsy topics or we can say—cause the Saudi government allows us to have shows like Sex Education that show a very liberal lifestyle and very provocative and important topics. And so, we can accomplish a lot more by being entertainment and influencing a global conversation about how people live than trying to be another news channel.”