As part of an effort to become more transparent, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) has disclosed all of the times it has removed content from its platform due to requests from national governments. In its annual Environmental, Social and Governance Report, Netflix showed that it has taken down content at a government’s request just nine times. According to the report, these removals will be reported annually beginning next year.
According to the report, all of the content removal instances have been made over the past five years. During that period, nine takedown requests were granted. Most of the content removed from the service was at the demand of the Infocomm Media Development Authority in Singapore, which made five of the nine requests. The other four were made by four different countries: Germany, New Zealand, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia.
Singapore requested that the service remove shows centered on marijuana usage, which affected the pot cooking-competition show Cooking on High, the sitcom Disjointed and cannabis documentary The Legend of 420. The country also requested the removal of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ and the Brazilian comedy The Last Hangover, which parodies the Last Supper.
The Saudi government requested the removal of an episode of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s show Patriot Act titled “Saudi Arabia,” which focused on journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. New Zealand asked for the removal of documentary The Bridge, which looks at suicides at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, because it violated New Zealand’s 2006 Coroners Act on how suicides can be portrayed in the media.
Vietnam’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information requested the removal of Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket. George Romero’s zombie classic Night of the Living Dead was removed from the service’s platform in Germany because the movie is banned there. These are just the takedown requests that were granted.
A Netflix representative commented that the company will only comply with such requests if they receive “valid, written legal demands from government bodies” and that they often seek to appeal. Netflix will only take down content when they cannot, in any circumstance, reach an agreement with local authorities.