6 Middle Eastern Countries Demand Netflix Remove ‘Offensive Content’ Targeting Children
A photo of a person about to watch Netflix on a screen inside an apartment, during the coronavirus lockdown in Dublin. On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Six nations in the Middle East are demanding that streaming service Netflix remove “offensive content,” especially culturally sensitive programming targeting children.

The Gulf Cooperation Council of Electronic Media — a union that includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — issued a joint statement declaring that some content on the streaming service “violated Islamic and societal values and principles.”

“It has been noticed in the recent period that the Netflix platform has broadcast some visual materials and content that violates the media content controls in the UAE and contradicts societal values ​​in the country,” the statement explained, according to a report from Esquire Middle East. “The Netflix platform has been contacted to remove this content, especially the offending content directed at children.”

Although specific examples of inappropriate content were not mentioned in the statement, Saudi state-run news outlet Al-Ekhbariya mentioned “movies and series for children with scenes promoting homosexuality under a dramatic cover via Netflix,” according to a report from the Daily Mail.

The nations will apply “necessary measures” in the event that Netflix — which lost nearly one million subscribers in its second quarter — continues to broadcast material that contradicts local values or fails to comply “with the laws and regulations in force.” The admonition from the Gulf Cooperation Council occurs after several Islamic nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, banned the Disney movie “Lightyear” over a same-sex kiss scene.

In domestic markets, the “Toy Story” spinoff earned a paltry $51 million during its three-day opening — despite a lack of competition from other children’s movies and significantly more robust success from past films in the hit franchise. Meanwhile, Chris Evans — the actor who voiced Buzz Lightyear — lauded the kiss scene in multiple interviews and labeled parents with reservations about showing the movie to their children “idiots.”

“Every time there’s been social advancement as we wake up, the American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” Evans, who formerly played Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, remarked.

Disney+ Middle East has since decided that the platform will nix content that does not “align with local regulatory requirements” among Islamic nations, the entertainment conglomerate told Esquire Middle East.

Earlier this year, Disney vowed to “take action” against the state of Texas over the treatment of juvenile transgender procedures as child abuse and opposed parental rights legislation in Florida banning classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to third grade.

Despite its involvement in activism, Disney appeared to be drastically out of step with the American public. In an exclusive poll from The Daily Wire, 64% of Americans supported the Florida law, including 62% of Democrats and 57% of independents. Disney also witnessed a severe slowdown in new subscriptions among domestic customers in its most recent fiscal quarter.

Though many Americans want companies to advance certain causes beyond their bottom lines, another exclusive poll from The Daily Wire recently showed that most American investors would rather see companies pursue profits rather than pontificating on political matters. While 29% of respondents to the poll agreed it is a “good thing” for companies to leverage their financial power for political or social means supported by executives, 58% — twice as many — said it is a “bad thing.”

Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.

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