Netflix CEO Reed Hastings defended the streamer’s choice earlier this 12 months to censor an episode of “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj,” throughout an interview on the New York Times DealBook Conference on Wednesday. The episode, which criticized Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi funding in Silicon Valley, was pulled for customers in Saudi Arabia after the Saudi authorities complained.
“We’re not in the news business. We’re not trying to do ‘truth to power.’ We’re trying to entertain,” Hastings advised CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Hastings made it clear that Netflix is a big worldwide enterprise and the U.S. solely makes up 5 % of the world’s inhabitants. And Hastings went on to argue that it may really do good on this planet by enjoying ball with the Saudi authorities’s censors.
“We can pick fights with governments about newsy topics, or we can say—because the Saudi government allows us to have shows like Sex Education that show a very liberal lifestyle.”
Other manufacturers world wide have confronted intense criticism for bowing to political strain by authoritarian regimes so as to make more cash. The NBA and China was only one current instance, the place the Houston Rockets normal supervisor Daryl Morey received into sizzling water over a tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
When Sorkin pushed Hastings on the truth that Netflix is now complicit in censoring critics within the Middle East, Hastings once more trotted out the argument that Netflix is merely an leisure channel quite than a brand new channel.
“We’re an entertainment brand, we don’t feel bad about that at all,” Hastings mentioned.
Hastings went on to say that if the Saudi authorities requested him to take down homosexual content material, he wouldn’t do it, however he once more appeared to imagine there was some shiny line distinction between fictionalized drama and arduous information critique—one thing that Hassan Minaj apparently stepped over together with his present about Saudi funding in Silicon Valley.
“It’s tough. If you want to be a news brand, then you have a different set of things that you do,” Hastings mentioned. “And if you want to be an entertainment brand, and that’s really about sharing lifestyles, then you do have to draw hard lines, but they’re around things that are around lifestyle, not around the current news.”
You can watch your complete speak on YouTube.