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This is Why ‘Barbie’ is Banned In Lebanon and Kuwait

Barbieheimer is no longer

A movie that caused havoc worldwide due to its elaborate marketing campaign, Barbie is banned in Lebanon and is in Kuwait for its alleged “promotion of homosexuality.”  

In Lebanon, Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada made the decision to prevent the film from screening in cinemas after delaying its release date to late August, stating that it is not in line with the “moral and religious values as well as the principles of Lebanon,” the country’s state-run media reported on Wednesday.  The minister also added that the movie “promotes sexual deviance and transsexuality.” 

Mortada, backed by the Shia Muslim armed group Hezbollah, whose head Hassan Nasrallah, has long incited an aggressive anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. In a speech he made in late July, he referred to homosexuality as “sexual perversion” and a threat to the country, beginning a tirade against the minority group, and calling for violence. According to the Human Rights Watch, following Nasrallah’s July 22 speech, LGBTQ people have reported online harassment and death threats.

The film’s ban in Lebanon promoted outrage and mockery in the country. Many took to twitter addressing the ban and its contradictions due to the plethora of injustices that continue to occur in Lebanon. One of them being Lebanese award-winning journalist, Dalal Mawad who truthfully stated on Twitter, “In Lebanon, where domestic violence and rape go unpunished, where women are subjugated to unfair laws,& all sorts of criminals roam freely ; a bunch of men want to ban Barbie the movie (which they have not watched) because they believe it goes against social & religious morals.”

The decision seems to be a poor attempt to divert attention from the issues Lebanon faces and the many degrees they come in— from the ongoing financial crisis entering its fourth year, to the inability to receive justice for the lives lost during the Aug. 4, 2020 explosion. Politicians seem to be targeting minority groups, and using movies like Barbie as scapegoats. 

Moreover, the film was delayed in release in both the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, to a later date of Aug. 31, for reasons that may be related to local censors requesting edits pertaining to LGBTQ-related narration and dialogue. Pakistan also halted the movie’s release due to unspecified “objectionable content.” Lastly, it was banned in Vietnam over a scene that features a map showing the South China Sea— deemed offensive by the Vietnamese government over a long-disputed maritime border with China, per Reuters.  

Greta Gerwig’s interpretation of the famous American doll, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken has topped $1bn in box office ticket sales worldwide since its July 12 debut.

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