Netflix removes drug-related titles from Singapore slate

Streaming service Netflix took down two titles related to recreational drug usage from its Singapore slate at the request of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

In its annual Environmental Social Governance Report, the streaming giant said it removed cooking series Cooked With Cannabis and the film Have A Good Trip: Adventures In Psychedelics in May and August last year respectively.

Cooked With Cannabis (2020) is a competitive cooking show where contestants have to come up with cannabis-infused meals.

The possession, consumption and trafficking of cannabis, also known as marijuana, is illegal in Singapore.

IMDA says on its online Films Classification Database that the series "portrays the use of cannabis as an ingredient in food to be acceptable, appealing and safe if dosed appropriately".

According to movie database IMDB, Have A Good Trip: Adventures In Psychedelics (2020) is a comedic documentary about the "pros, cons, science, history, future, pop cultural impact, and cosmic possibilities of hallucinogens". It stars celebrities like Nick Offerman (Parks And Recreation, 2009 to 2015) and singer Sting.

Hallucinogens such as lysergide (LSD) are also illegal in Singapore.

IMDA says Have A Good Trip "promotes the consumption of psychedelics drugs with tips and advice on how one can minimise the chances of running into psychosis while on the drug".

The Film Classification Guidelines state that "any material that promotes drug or psychoactive substance abuse, or includes detailed and instructive depictions of drug use or psychoactive substance abuse will be refused classification".

As Netflix's library is tied to its geographical location, the titles were made unavailable only in Singapore.

Since Netflix launched, it has removed only 13 titles from its content library following requests from governmental authorities.

Of these 13 titles, seven were removed at Singapore's request - making the country the most restrictive market for Netflix.

Five of these titles were related to drug use. The remaining two are American auteur Martin Scorsese's religious drama The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988), which is banned in Singapore; and Brazilian comedy The Last Hangover (2018), a drunken parody of the biblical story of the last supper.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2021, with the headline 'Netflix removes drug-related titles from Singapore slate'. Subscribe