That’s what Netflix should change its name to if it’s going to take the time and effort to see to it that nothing it releases displeases foreign governments.
According to The Wrap, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the massive streaming service is 100 percent on board with the idea since they’re an entertainment platform, not a news organization. The controversy came about thanks to Netflix pulling an episode of “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj,” which featured criticisms of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government complained, and Netflix caved.
Hastings gave an explanation on Wednesday according to The Wrap:
“Well, we’re not in the news business. We’re not trying to do ‘truth to power,’” Hastings told Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times’ DealBook Conference. “We’re trying to entertain.”
The second episode of “Patriot Act,” which originally streamed in October 2018 shortly after the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, strongly criticized the Saudi government and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA concluded personally ordered the hit. Minhaj also criticized Silicon Valley for taking investments from Saudi Arabia.
Hastings told Sorkin that Netflix could pick fights with foreign governments about what they can and can’t air if it wanted to, but would rather play nice, admitting that it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
“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,” Hastings added.
Hastings said that there is a line that won’t be crossed, and that’s censoring LGBT characters and storylines in shows.
So let’s break this down. Netflix will capitulate to foreign governments and pull content if it exposes the corruption and highlights wrongdoing by said government, but it will not, under any circumstances, stop you from watching two dudes make out. That’s the line they draw.
Well, it’s safe to say that Netflix definitely has its priorities in order and this won’t at all lead to corruption and censorship in the future. If a government takes offense to something, you won’t get to watch it anymore. On the plus side, you can watch that episode of Black Mirror where two bros go at it without worry.
Interference in American media has been rather bad, especially as of late. Most media companies and entertainment corporations are perfectly willing to bow to China in its demands for censorship, including Blizzard and Disney. Few actually plant their feet and tell these foreign governments to deal with it.
Leading that charge are Matt Stone and Trey Parker of the Comedy Central show South Park, who I think every other corporation could take a lesson from.