Prince Ali Bin Al Hussain, chairman of the Royal Film Commission Jordan (RFC), has responded to backlash against ‘Jinn’ — Netflix’s first original Arabic series — after social media users claimed it does not represent the Jordanian society.
Posting to Twitter, Al Hussain wrote: “ All of this activity and interest over the events of a series that is not a documentary, and energy wasted on abusing Jordanian members and families, instead of focusing on finding solutions to the country’s real problems? Let us respect people and their differences, as Jordan has room for all categories, beliefs and lifestyles, so long as they are peaceful. Enough!”
According to The Jordan Times, an investigation was launched into the series on Saturday by the Amman prosecutor’s office, after some legislators found it to be “offensive and lewd”.
The five-episode teen supernatural series premiered on June 13 and gained attention online. One Twitter user wrote: “So we have to clarify something... #JinnNetflix is basically an American high school drama, no correlation to Jordanian/Arabian culture whatsoever.”
Another user said: “As for the first ever Arabic Netflix Original Series, ‘Jinn’ is pretty good. Stop bantering about it having some cheesy scenes. All series do, get over it. The story itself was pretty fascinating, action-packed and suspenseful.”
“I heard more swearing in one Jinn episode than I have in my 22 years of existence!!” one user stated, while another posted that the streaming service was “ruining our culture.”
ROYAL FILM COMMISSION RESPONDS
The RFC issued a seven-point clarification regarding its role in the production following “controversial reactions”. It described its role as helping to facilitate local and international productions.
“There is no censorship prerogative among RFC’s tasks and duties. Therefore we don’t look into scripts,” the statement read.
It also emphasised that ‘Jinn’ is a work of fiction and suggested that “many of those who commented” on the series have not seen it or have seen only excerpts of it.
The RFC maintained that they are “following reactions by official and semi-official bodies in Jordan and are taking them seriously”.
On their regional Twitter account (@NetflixMENA), Netflix also responded to the outcry and called it a “wave of bullying” against the show’s cast and crew.
“Our position has always been focused on diversity and inclusion, therefore we work to provide a safe space for all lovers of series and films in the region,” they tweeted.
Netflix added that any questions or remarks about their content about can be communicated to them directly.
In January, Netflix removed an episode of the satirical news series ‘Patriot Act’ with Hasan Minhaj in Saudi Arabia “to comply with local law,” according to a spokesperson, after complaints from official channels; however, the episode is still available in other countries. The streaming service also reportedly removed three series from their catalogue in Singapore due to drug-related content.