Netflix has pulled an episode of a satirical comedy show that criticizes Saudi Arabia after officials in the kingdom complained, raising serious questions about the limits of free online expression, according to a report in The Financial Times.
The American-born Muslim lashed Saudi Arabia after the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The decision to ban the episode, which was revealed by the Financial Times newspaper, sparked outrage online, with activists accusing the company of censorship and prioritising profit over principles.
The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission made a "legal request" to Netflix to pull the episode for allegedly violating anti-cybercrime law, the network said.
Minhaj himself weighed in on Twitter with a jab at Netflix - and an appeal for humanitarian relief in Yemen, where Saudi bombings have taken a toll in the ongoing civil war.
The comedian also revealed that he held discussions with his family prior to filming the episode, and after it aired, he noticed a wave of social media bots (hailing from Saudi Arabia) following his various accounts.
"Our relationship with Saudi Arabia - and I mean that both as an American and a Muslim - has always been extremely complicated".
Hasan Minhaj's Saudi Arabia episode is off the airwaves there after Netflix received and acted upon a legal complaint from the country that it found valid.
Violators of that law could be punished by a maximum of five years in prison and be fined as much as $800,000.
The Saudi Information Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ben Emmerson QC said the kingdom's laws 'enable the criminalisation of a wide spectrum of acts of peaceful expression, which are viewed by the authorities as endangering "national unity" or undermining "the reputation or position of the state"'.
"But the revelations about Khashoggi's killing have shattered that image and it blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go: 'Oh I guess he's not really a reformer, '" Minhaj said.