back to article Prime suspect: Amazon India apologises for offensive scenes in political thriller

Amazon Prime India has issued a rare-for-Big-Tech apology for material deemed offensive in Bezos's streaming arm's political thriller, Tandav, as legal writs fly. “We respect our viewers’ diverse beliefs and apologize unconditionally to anyone who felt hurt by these scenes. Our teams follow company content evaluation processes …

  1. First Light Silver badge

    Bad news

    India is on the road to autocracy, and moving quickly.

    These issues are also a good deflection from the disastrous state of the economy which was in decline before COVID and is tanking now.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Bad news

      Even worse, to a theocracy. Which means it's still a primitive society. Autocrats resort to religion when they know their supporters are even more gullible.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Autocrats resort to religion when they know their supporters are even more gullible.

        Hence Trump's tear gas bible photo-op.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad news

      If "The post of Prime Minister has been depicted in a manner which will adversely affect the democratic system of the country", this can only mean that everyone is taking the Indian PM too seriously; and this would never do in a *real* democracy, where it is compulsory to belittle and lampoon the PM ... even in the unlikely event they turn out to be competent.

      I can only urge the good citizens on India most strongly to make fun of their PM, and cast mean, small-minded and cynical aspersions upon both him, his office, and his party, and government; ... even if you happen to a keen supporter. Only in this way will your democracy be saved! :-D

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Bad news

        Indeed, it's long been a strength of the UK that it doesn't matter what your political leanings, which political party you voted for in an election or whether the Government is likely to implement policies you support, everybody gets to hate the Prime Minister.

        Lesser democracies struggle with the seeming lack of respect and don't understand that the office itself has such long standing stability that the mockery and challenge are to the individual temporarily occupying it, not to the institution itself.

        Totalitarian states, those that hide from scrutiny and the ones with only a fragile hold on undemocratic power can not countenance criticism of the state or its leader. They fear it, and rightly so, which is why they must be exposed to ridicule and contempt.

        1. ITMA

          Re: Bad news

          Not JUST the Prime Minister...

          Who remembers the superb Spitting Image and it's depiction of the then UK PM Margret Thatcher?

          Especially the "dinner sketch" which went something like this

          Waitress: How Do You Like Your Steak Sir?

          Thatcher: I Like It Raw.

          Waitress: What About The Vegetables?

          Thatcher: They Will Just Have The Same (referring to her Cabinet)

          Google "spitting image and the vegetables" (other so-called "search engines" are available) LOL

          1. call-me-mark

            Re: Bad news

            As I recall, Thatch herself later went on to claim that said scene had played out in real life.

            1. ITMA

              Re: Bad news

              And the vegetables? What did they think? LOL

      2. pradeepvasudev

        Re: Bad news

        Keep your advice to yourself, buddy. Everytime i see these random messages advising India about stuff, i am reminded of this line from Lee Kwan Yew where he talks about the journalist from the west who comes into Singapore and becomes an expert in 3 weeks. Effing albatrosses- fly in, shit all over the place, fly out.

        Here, read this to get an understanding of a different world: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/29/world/asia/29iht-lee-excerpts.html

    3. Raj

      Re: Bad news

      Autocracy eh ? Let’s see your own home:

      https://www.iheartbritishtv.com/british-tv-shows-deemed-offensive-removed-from-streaming-services-updated-june-11/

      Fawlty Towers

      The Mighty Boosh

      The League of Gentlemen

      Bo Selecta

      Little Britain

      They were racist, you say ? Homophobic ? Transphobic ? How terrible indeed. Tsk tsk.

      Very well, India determines what constitutes red lines for shows want to air in India and make money out of a vast market. Broadcasters either comply or can leave. The terms are exactly the same as in UK.

      When youre done returning from your imaginary parallel universe where you permit “free speech” with absolutely no filters whatsoever, with absolutely no something-phobic as a basis, we’ll talk. Until then your precious pearl clutching about authoritarianism isn’t worth a paisa .

      1. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Bad news

        Except for the part about scheduled castes, the reason the content was deemed offensive in India had nothing to do with protecting minorities, and everything to do with protecting the feelings of the majority and protecting the government. That is a big difference.

        1. pradeepvasudev

          Re: Bad news

          So what if they are meant to protect the majority? India is moving to a model where everyone has an equal opportunity to be protected and equally to be offended. Why is it ok to offend a majority but not a minority?

          Here's an example: the Indian government came up with a law that banned the odious practice of 'triple-talaaq' among Muslims. Many so called liberals were incensed, which is senseless - it was a law that protected Muslim women, but most fake liberals simply unable to remove their 'Muslim savior' lenses.

          The real reason why most people support this government is so obvious that is almost everyone is blind to it - it's a government that delivers and is simply accepting that a majority in a state needs to have at least some of its (mostly valid) concerns addressed. Why exactly is it wrong? Oh i know, because it fails to fit your narrative.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Bad news

            Demanding something be censored because it mocks deities has as much validity as censoring something because it mocks, say, "Star Trek". There is no significant difference - made up characters who are loved by many people.

          2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Bad news

            Why is it ok to offend a majority but not a minority?

            A very reasonable question to ask. But fortunately the answer is simple...

            No one should be able to prevent being offended -- if you want to offend someone, that is your right. If you have been offended, then give as good as you get back. However, minorities have to have special protections simply because there are fewer of them to defend themselves.

            It is the classic case of individual rights in conflict. And society, rightly, protects those that are in a minority from potential abuse from the majority.

            1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

              Re: Bad news

              Why, because they are "inferior"? That would be the only logical reason? We go through this stupid routine all the time. Some minority or group of minorities does some thing bad and or stupid and you "can't criticize" them because they are a minority! We have huge problems in the black community in America but you cannot discuss it because to do to is considered "racist" so the issue don't get fixes. Typical Leftist BS because the Leftists do not want these problems fixed then no one needs a Leftist!.

              In regard to religion, so, in the west it is deemed OK to routinely make fun of/criticize Christians, the majority religion but it is not OK to have a serious discussion about the ongoing problems with Islam. The former just want to be left alone and the latter kills people.

              1. jason_derp Bronze badge

                Re: Bad news

                "...you cannot discuss it because to do to is considered "racist"..."

                Usually the issue is that those problems are being phrased racistly. Criticizing Christianity in the west is easy because there are so many Christians it can't be easily considered abusing a minority. Criticizing Islam is equally as easy (and they're both abhorrent IMO), but the loudest people who are doing it often seem to slip in a few words that hint towards something else being a real motivation. Like putting words like "inferior" in quotes and using an "I'm just asking questions!" tone.

                There's also the fact that cutting deeply into a religion like Islam and using sources like the Koran to criticize the religion is hard to do when people make sweeping generalizations like all members of a religion "kill[ing] people". You have no idea how many leftists would love to tear into Islam, but all the brave souls who step up to the plate first seem to have an open can of leftover half-baked beans for a processor, and so the cycle continues and nothing is solved because now they have to worry about problems produced by poorly thought-out arguments and generalizations.

                You're helping though. Real proud of you.

                1. ITMA

                  Re: Bad news

                  "Criticizing Christianity in the west is easy because there are so many Christians it can't be easily considered abusing a minority. Criticizing Islam is equally as easy (and they're both abhorrent IMO)"

                  Which are you calling "abhorrent"? The religions themselves or criticism of them?

                  I personally will defend to the hilt someone's right to believe what they want in terms of "faith/religion". However, what I will absolutely not defend is what some members of various religious groups see as their "right" to dictate to others who do not share their beliefs, how to live their lives or to victimise them because they view that lifestyle as "evil/sick/abhorrent" just because they don't like it.

                  The worst aspect is that, all too often, they are willing to go far beyond merely vocalising their "distaste" - stoning to death/execution of those who are of a different sexual orientation for instance.

                  1. jason_derp Bronze badge

                    Re: Bad news

                    "Which are you calling "abhorrent"? The religions themselves or criticism of them?"

                    The religions.

                    "...I will absolutely not defend is what some members of various religious groups see as their "right" to dictate to others who do not share their beliefs, how to live their lives or to victimise them because they view that lifestyle as "evil/sick/abhorrent" just because they don't like it."

                    Well, that's going to be a problem them, because both their books are pretty clear on that being exactly what they're supposed to do. I can't tell which parts of the koran or bible that a person is deciding to follow, so the safest bet is to always assume they're the murderous monster their book says they should be until proven otherwise. Good luck proving that negative, guys.

            2. Alumoi Silver badge

              Re: Bad news

              However, minorities have to have special protections simply because there are fewer of them to defend themselves

              My family and I (3 in total) are deeply offended by the current 'we must protect the XXX crap'. As you pointed out, we are a minority and unable to defend ourselves. Will the state step in and protect us?

              Before the downvote squad comes in, I was being sarcastic.

              BTW, how well the US protected the native american minorities (hint: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears)?

            3. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Bad news

          Free speech either exists or not.

          It does not matter how you explain why you ban stuff, whether it is to protect government, minorities or you just dislike a twitting president.

          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Bad news

            Don't be an idiot. No rights are absolute. Everyone knows that every time any right is exercised, it has to be balanced against the rights of others. Part of that balance is protecting the weaker (e.g. minorities).

            So, the right to free speech is virtually unrestricted when speaking truth to power. However, it is much more limited when it involves stirring up hatred against minorities. Most utterances fall between those two.

          2. ITMA

            Re: Bad news

            But "freedom of speech" is not the same, nor should it be, as "freedom to say what you like without repercussions".

            The classic example of that being:

            "You are free to say what you like, no matter offensive or insulting, to my face, providing I'm free to kick you in the bollocks with my steel toe capped boots if I don't like it".

            1. Ordinary Donkey

              Re: Bad news

              No, just because you don't like the Koran doesn't give you the right to kick people for quoting it. Maybe try again?

              1. ITMA

                Re: Bad news

                I think you would benefit from reading it again....

                I was merely using that as an example to illustrate that with freedom comes responsibility, because even words can do great harm to those on the receiving end.

                Besides, quoting from what ever your own revered religious text may be is one thing - "ramming it down someone else's throat" who does not share your beliefs is something else. It all depends upon the situation and delivery.

                Equally as unacceptable, in my view, would be someone doing the reverse - a non Muslim trying to force their views of the Quran onto a devout Muslim

                1. Ordinary Donkey

                  Re: Bad news

                  That's not about Speech though. Getting in somebody's face is another matter and what the person doing so does or doesn't say doesn't change it.

                  Claiming the right to inflict harm on someone because you don't like what they're saying is justifying hate crimes, end of.

  2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    This ain't America

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This ain't America

      Nope it isn't is it, but Amazon Video in the USA finds its own ways to fit both feet in its own mouth.

      Between the fake documentary infomercials promoting fraud, bad diet advice, extremism, conspiracy theories an that POS Borat sequel it seems like Amazon India's in good company here in 'Murica.

      For those pondering what the issues with that super funny Sacha Cohen film were, cross out his name and replace it with Project Veritas and retest your emotional reactions. Entrapment and character assassination is not what Amazon should be spending it's money on.

      There are plenty of great reasons to hate Rudy G. that are ACTUALLY TRUE and this crap is getting in the way of prosecuting him for them. It also de-legitimizes the effort to put the brakes on political misinformation from people like hit men like Project Veritas (or Michael Moore for that matter) who will happily twist the truth or outright fabricate lies. In this monkey see monkey do world the copycats will do far more damage following their example. It may also get someone shot next time, which Cohen should count himself lucky that Giuliani didn't anything other than wood in his pants.

      1. Insert sadsack pun here Bronze badge

        Re: This ain't America

        "In this monkey see monkey do world the copycats will do far more damage"

        Well, what kind of idiot would put a copycat among monkeys? Everyone knows you're only supposed to put the cat amongst the pigeons unless you're some kind of pigdog. God help the sheep in wolves' clothing that act like a bull in the hand that's worth two in the bush.

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: This ain't America

      I guess the double-edged comments are a bit too subtle for this crowd. :D

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mocking religion is just wrong!

    Cheer up, Brian. You Know What They Say ...

    1. tfewster
      Joke

      Re: mocking religion is just wrong!

      ...made jokes about social media...

      Social Media are the new gods, and may not be mocked.

      Nobody expects the Twitterati!

      (With apologies to Neil Gaiman and Monty Python)

  4. Stanislav Bonita
    Facepalm

    Awww...

    Did their widdle hindu gods get their feelings hurt?

    If the hindu gods were offended, and they're, like, *gods*, they can surely just smite Amazon India and be done with it.

    If no smiting occurs, either they don't care, or - and stay with me here - maybe, just maybe, they don't exist...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Awww...

      Yup. Always wondered why nutters feel the need to go round doing things like beheading people for offending their god. If the god is that upset about it, just leave it to them to sort it out.

      1. sbt Silver badge
        Alert

        I guess it depends on your goal

        Sure, mockery might make you feel smug about avoiding falling for an old myth (or even a newer scam). But has it ever convinced a believer?

        Thanks to the history of religious persecution (mostly by other religious adherents, but not always), it's worth treading lightly here; attacks tend to harden resolve and build solidarity in the faithful.

        If you want folks to be open to accepting that gods are man's creation and not the other way around, focus on the history (and the psychology) of belief, not the philosophy of the beliefs (or the contradictory geology/paleontology).

        1. Insert sadsack pun here Bronze badge

          Re: I guess it depends on your goal

          "But has [mockery] ever convinced a believer?"

          What makes you think I'm trying to convince you?

      2. Sirius Lee

        Re: Awww...

        Perhaps any self-respecting believer will argue that the gods did do something to strike back: they took control of an individual and had him commit an act of revenge. The gods *could* have taken out a whole continent/people/creed/sect and so on but, you know, its got to be proportionate and enough to let humanity know of the gods displeasure but not completely unreasonable (for a god)..

    2. JDC

      Re: Awww...

      Arguably they are smiting, just using their human agents to do it for them.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Awww...

        Using lawyers to do your smiting just doesn't seem right, though. Aren't they the ones supposed to be first up against the wall when it's smiting time?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not so simple

      It took me almost ~17 years to realise God doesn't exist, against all logic and reason. It’s hard to explain but when you are a part of a religion it just makes so much sense (especially if your deity has provided some basis for not sticking up for themselves (e.g. the bible being all the revelation needed to know god)).

      I don't understand Hinduism but I do understand the sense of offence. Logic doesn't really work, there is too much identity and self tied up in there.

      My mother still sends me bible verses and YouTube sermons :(

    4. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Awww...

      It's tough to be omnipotent all powerful beings. You need puny humans to enact laws to stop other humans from saying mean things about them.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blasphemy

    The victimless crime

    Don’t be offended if I fail to believe in your god(s).

  6. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Good Omens

    India is descending into a third world country like the USA.

    An online petition that erroneously requested Netflix cancel Good Omens had reportedly received more than 20,000 signatures from people objecting to the show's content, perhaps unaware that the show was actually on Amazon and had already been released in full. The petition, posted as part of a "Return to Order" campaign by a US religious organization, criticizes the show's irreverent treatment of topics relating to satanism and the devil, and the use of a female voice for God.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Omens_(TV_series)#Petition_for_cancellation

    OMG! Thank god they haven't heard of American Gods.

    1. Citizen99

      Re: Good Omens

      Good Omens implies, or alludes to, many points which would be interesting material for students of theology. With humour.

  7. John Savard Silver badge

    Dangerous

    Amazon should not have made the mistake of attempting to do business in a country that isn't fully democratic. It's far too easy to make mistakes that can endanger people's lives and freedom.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: attempting to do business in a country that isn't fully democratic.

      Amazon is based in the USA. You know, that country where the "democratic" election results aren't believed by 70million voters so they stormed the Capitol to try and overturn it.

      Fully democratic?

  8. G R Goslin

    There used to be...

    There once was a saying in a whole list of useful sayings, that went "One man's religion, is another man's belly laugh". A truism that I've followed all my adult life. It appeared in "Analog" Sci Fi. Wish I could remember the articles title

    1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

      Re: There used to be...

      I'm pretty certain that's one of Heinlein's Lazarus Long-isms

  9. ShortLegs

    Amazon Prime are offering the hand of friendship to the Indian Government...

    ... which previously belonged to the Producer

    Obligatory NTNOCN for those of an older generation

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