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Netflix CEO on pulled Patriot Act episode: We're not trying to do truth to power

Netflix pulled the episode in Saudi Arabia earlier this year at the behest of the government there.

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Hasan Minhaj

Screenshot by Marrian Zhou/CNET

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is reportedly defending the company's decision to remove an episode of Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj from its Saudi Arabia service following a kingdom complaint. Hastings' remarks occurred at a New York Times DealBook conference Wednesday. 

"We're not in the truth to power business, we're in the entertainment business," Hastings said, according to a tweet from NBC's Dylan Byers. 

"We're not in the news business," Hastings said, as reported by Variety and The Hill. "We don't feel bad about it at all."

Originally pulled in January, the comedy show's second episode was first released the prior October. The episode slammed the Middle Eastern country following the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and criticized Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The CIA reportedly concluded last year that the crown prince ordered the assassination of Khashoggi, but he's denied it. A UN report also said the crown prince was likely involved. The episode criticized Saudi Arabia's military campaign in Yemen as well. 

The episode is still available worldwide on YouTube and outside Saudi Arabia on Netflix.

"We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and removed this episode only in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal demand from the government -- and to comply with local law," a Netflix spokesperson said in a January statement to CNET.

Netflix didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for comment Thursday. 

Read more: Netflix pulls episode of comedy show to satisfy Saudi Arabia 'legal demand'