Saudi Arabia and GCC warn streaming giant Netflix over violating ‘Islamic values’

Screengrab from the animated Netflix show Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous showing two teenage girls kissing each others
Saudi state TV broadcast blurred clips from Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, in which two female characters kiss

Gulf states have demanded that Netflix remove all content deemed to violate “Islamic and societal values and principles”, Saudi media report.

Recent material, including that made for children, contravened regulations, Saudi and Gulf Co-operation Council media watchdogs warned in a statement. It did not provide any further details.

Footage from the controversial French film Cuties also featured in the report by Al Ekhbariya TV, along with a caption accusing Netflix of being “cinematic cover for immoral messages that threaten the healthy upbringing of children”.

The channel also interviewed several public figures with who made similar accusations and called on the authorities to take immediate action.

“[Netflix] was contacted to remove this content, including content directed at children, and to ensure adherence to the laws”.

Authorities would follow up on compliance with the directives, and “in the event that the infringing content continues to be broadcast, the necessary legal measures will be taken”, they warned.

Although Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia has no laws regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, sexual relations outside marriage, including homosexual sex, are strictly prohibited.

Under the country’s interpretation of Islamic law, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death or flogging, depending on the perceived seriousness of the case.

In April, cinemas in Saudi Arabia did not screen the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after Disney refused a request from Saudi authorities to cut what they called “LGBTQ references”.

And the animated film Lightyear, which featured a same-sex kiss, was reportedly banned in the kingdom and the United Arab Emirates in June.

YouTube was meanwhile accused last month by Saudi authorities of permitting “inappropriate adverts” that violated Islamic values.

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