Hotstar India, owned by Disney took down “Last Week Tonight’s” episode that lampoons the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. The John Oliver hosted satire – that has won 16 Emmys during its run, discussed the protests in India pertaining to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) and was censored by Hotstar India.
This move seems to have been made to forego the ire of India’s ruling party and there seems to have been no effort made by the Indian Government to revoke the episode. Following the scissor, Android users have flocked to the Play Store to award the Hotstar app one-star reviews, clearly mentioning John Oliver and the episode censorship. Apple users have been more than generous with their one-star’s too.
The hilarious thing about all of this is that the episode is still on YouTube and Hotstar’s hard stance seems to be only to please BJP and wave a white flag at its headquarters at the first sign of trouble.
This isn’t the first time that the soon to be rebranded Disney+ Hotstar has indulged in self-censorship. Hotstar cut out jokes aimed at Disney from one of the show’s earlier episodes, a move which was seemingly made to not anger Disney.
Hostar also doesn’t upload videos from Last Week Tonight until a day after the episode has been aired, unlike other HBO shows. This gives the company plenty of time to pick and choose what they want the audience to see. This is pretty ironic, considering we are talking about the same services that touted the entire uncut version of the award-winning “Game of Thrones” enticing people to sign up for the service.
Another interesting takeaway is that most fans probably already know where to look to watch the complete episode and the hardcore fans among them, probably do so day and date with the episode launch. It’s sad to see Hotstar succumb to the scissor but we all do what we can to stay happy, don’t we?