Netflix has thrown both homosexuals and artistic freedom under the bus in the country of Turkey, canceling a show because the Turkish government objected to a gay character in the series.
The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to permit filming on the upcoming Turkish drama series If Only because the show features a gay character. Netflix opted to cancel the entire production rather than any less drastic change, IndieWire has reported.
Ece Yorenc, a screenwriter for the upcoming series, called the move “frightening.”
“Due to a gay character, permission to film the series was not granted and this is very frightening for the future,” she told Turkish entertainment website Altyazi Fasikul, as reported by the Financial Times.
Reached for comment, Netflix offered the following statement:
“Netflix remains deeply committed to our Turkish members and the creative community in Turkey. We are proud of the incredible talent we work with. We currently have several Turkish originals in production — with more to come — and look forward to sharing these stories with our members all around the world.”
Nothing about homophobia or lifestyle choices or diversity or religious oppression. With a Muslim authoritarian government, Netflix knows how to shut up and behave.
It’s not the first time Netflix has faced pressure from world governments to censor its content. Last year Saudi Arabia demanded the streamer remove an episode of Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj from its service in that country because the episode included statements that were critical of the regime.
Shortly after that, Netflix released a report that revealed the Saudi demand was the ninth such one, from any country, since it began streaming in 2007. Other titles include five in Singapore and one in Germany: Night of the Living Dead, which is banned in the European Union’s largest country.
Defending the Patriot Act episode removal, Hastings said this in November, according to Variety: “We’re not in the news business … We’re not trying to do ‘truth to power.’ We’re trying to entertain … We don’t feel bad about [pulling the Patriot Act episode in Saudi Arabia] at all.”