Netflix has been threatened with legal action by a group of Persian Gulf states if it continues to broadcast content that “contradicts” Islam, according to Saudi state media, with the offending material centred on shows depicting sexual minorities. The Saudi media regulator and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), headquartered in Riyadh, issued a joint statement that did not specifically identify material, instead referring to content that “contradicts Islamic and societal values.” “The platform was contacted to remove this content, including content aimed at children,” according to the statement.
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Despite the fact that the GCC did not specify which content was considered offensive, a segment on the Saudi state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel condemned “movies and series for children with scenes promoting homosexuality under a dramatic cover via Netflix.”
These were “very unfortunate and painful clips for our children, grandchildren, and the next generation,” a lawyer said in an on-air interview. In a different segment, also on Al-Ekhbariya, images from the animated series Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous were shown. The channel blurred the faces of the two female characters as they shared a kiss.
A self-described “family and educational adviser” was interviewed by the channel and claimed that the nation was experiencing a “censorship crisis” and that offensive content was “sneaking into our homes.” Gulf nations and US film distributors have frequently disagreed over sexual minorities-related material, particularly in movies.
The Disney animated film Lightyear, which features a lesbian kiss, was outlawed in the United Arab Emirates in June. Although movies with adult content are frequently cut or edited, the UAE is one of the more liberal nations in the Gulf. Disney was requested in April to remove “LGBTQ references” from the Marvel superhero movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness by Saudi Arabia, which only started screening movies in 2017.
Disney refused, so the movie was not shown in the kingdom. As part of a campaign against homosexuality, which is potentially punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, officials were seen in state media footage from June seizing rainbow-colored toys and clothing from stores in the capital. The raids targeted items like rainbow-colored pencil cases, skirts, hats, and bows, the majority of which appeared to be made for young children.