Last Thursday, April 30, Turkish censors asked Netflix to pull down the “Family Ties” episode of season two of its Designated Survivor series because it depicted a politically sensitive issue.
In line with Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards, Netflix complied with the request of the Turkish regulators, removing the episode from its broadcast network in Turkey.
“Following a demand from the Turkish regulator, we have removed one episode of ‘Designated Survivor’ from Netflix in Turkey only, to comply with local law,” Netflix told Variety in a prepared statement.
“Family Ties,” which is episode seven in the second season of Designated Survivor on Netflix, depicts the fictitious Turkish President Fatih Turan, played by Troy Caylak, in an unflattering light.
Attending a NATO summit, Turan faces fictional American President Tom Kirkman, played by Kiefer Sutherland. At a press conference, Turan goes off on a rant and accuses Kirkman of giving “safe haven to Nuri Sahim, an enemy of the Turkish people.” This statement causes friction between the two presidents.
Turan is also behind an incident to frame and bring civil charges against Leo, the son of the American President.
The themes depicted in the episode apparently tweaked the political sensitivities of the Turkish censors. Although pulled from the lineup within Turkey, the “Family Ties” episode is still available in other countries with access to the service.
This is not the first time Netflix has complied with governmental requests to take down sensitive material. From 2015 to 2020, the company removed nine titles from its network.
In 2015, it removed “The Bridge” from the service in New Zealand, in 2017 it removed “Full Metal Jacket” from the service in Vietnam and “Night of the Living Dead” from the service in Germany.
“Disjointed” was removed from the Netflix lineup in Singapore in 2018, and in 2019 the company removed “Patriot Act” with Hasan Minhaj from Saudi Arabia and “The Last Temptation of Christ” in Singapore.
Most recently, the company removed “The Last Hangover” from its Singapore lineup in 2020.