Banning 'Barbie': Kuwait bans film as Lebanon censors film for 'promoting homosexuality'

Lebanon poised to ban ‘Barbie’ for promoting homosexuality
Lebanon poised to ban ‘Barbie’ for promoting homosexuality Copyright Warner Bros.
By David Mouriquand
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The Kuwaiti ban comes as Lebanon’s culture minister asked authorities to censor the film for ‘promoting homosexuality and transsexuality’.

Kuwait has announced a ban on Barbie in a bid to protect “public ethics and social traditions”, shortly after a Lebanese minister asked authorities in his country to bar the movie from cinemas for “promoting homosexuality”.


A spokesman for the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information said that the film, which has topped $1bn in box office ticket sales worldwide since its debut, “promulgates ideas and beliefs that are alien to Kuwaiti society and public order”, according to the official KUNA news agency.

The ministry also banned the Australian horror film Talk to Me – which also features very high on our Best Movies of the Year So Far list - on similar grounds. Talk to Me features the appearance of a transsexual actor.

In Lebanon, once thought of as among the most liberal parts of the Middle East, the Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada announced that he has asked the Lebanese interior ministry to “take all necessary measures to ban showing” Barbie in the country.

The film “promotes homosexuality and transsexuality … supports rejecting a father’s guardianship, undermines and ridicules the role of the mother, and questions the necessity of marriage and having a family”, he said.

The film was due to be screened in Lebanon’s cinemas from 31 August.

Lebanon was the first Arab country to hold a gay pride week in 2017 and has generally been seen as a haven for the LGBTQ+ community in the broadly conservative Middle East. The call to ban Barbie comes amid a growing anti-LGBTQ+ campaign in Lebanon, spearheaded by the Hezbollah armed group.

In a speech last month, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, called on Lebanese authorities to take action against materials he deemed to be promoting homosexuality, including banning them. He said homosexuality posed an “imminent danger” to Lebanon and should be “confronted”.

Barbie 's release has also been delayed in Pakistan’s Punjab province over “objectionable content”, officials said last month, and has already been banned in Vietnam over a scene with a fictitious world map criticised for allegedly showing China’s claims in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippines allowed the film to be shown – but asked that the map of the disputed sea be blurred.

Additional sources • KUNA

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